Yesterday, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) called for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to increase fiscal funding for the Customs and Border Protection agency. The union claims “chronic staffing shortages” damage employee morale among Customs and Border Protection officers across the country, as well as harming the national economy.
The NTEU submitted its testimony yesterday, as the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security held a hearing on fiscal 2017 funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
According to NTEU, involuntary overtime and work assignments far from home disrupt the family lives of Customs and Border Protection Officers and impair morale. In regards to the economy, the NTEU testimony noted that a lack of Agriculture Specialists damages the U.S. agricultural sector, which generates $1 trillion in economic activity each year.
The union, which represents 150,000 federal workers including 25,000 Customs and Border Protection employees, supported the White House’s proposal to give Customs and Border Protection $12.9 billion in fiscal year 2017, which is 5.2 percent more than what congress gave the agency for 2016. While NTEU supported Customs and Border Protection’s plan to hire 2,000 additional Customs and Border Protection Officers, the agency’s most recent workload staffing model shows an ongoing shortfall of 2,071 Customs and Border Protection Officers and 631 Agriculture Specialists.
NTEU called for Congress to give the Customs and Border Protection agency adequate resources so it can increase staffing to appropriate levels, and help smooth flow of global trade, commerce and travel.
“NTEU was disappointed that Congress, in last year’s highway bill, diverted Customs User fees to serve as an offset for highway funding, rather than use this fee increase to hire additional CBP officers, NTEU President Tony Reardon said in the testimony.
Federal employees having to work long hours can often lead to workplace injuries. According to a 2012 report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, the Customs and Border Protection agency paid more than $62 million in workers’ compensation payments.
At Harris Federal, we help federal employees across the nation file for OWCP workers’ compensation benefits. Many of our clients are Customs and Border Patrol employees who suffer from workplace injuries. Hopefully Congress will provide the funding necessary to address this staffing shortage.
From April 11th through 14th, members of the Harris Federal team will be in Las Vegas for an NTEU national training conference for Customs and Border Protection employees. If you plan to attend the conference, please come visit us for more information about how we help injured and disabled federal workers! You can also call us at (877) 226-2723 or fill out an INQUIRY FORM for a FREE consultation. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about federal workers’ compensation or disability retirement benefits.