Workers at the Internal Revenue Service are heading back to work, realizing that much of their work needs to be done in the office. While many workplaces made an easy transition, service suffered due to remote work.
National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss U.S. Treasury employees returning to work, how they are treated by the current administration and how they can provide better service to taxpayers.
Union action amidst a pandemic
Reardon said the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for unions to function. Gathering limitations put a hold on membership meetings, leaving problems uncommunicated.
During the first half of the pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board gave workers very little help. Employers did as they pleased, violating collective bargaining agreements, not following emergency standards, not providing adequate PPE and more.
The Biden administration ushered in a new attitude towards unions. While companies got away with unfair bargaining practices, the Biden administration is encouraging employers to bargain in good faith.
Working from home
Working from home during the pandemic was an experiment for all who were forced into the situation. However, an overwhelmed IRS discovered work was falling even further behind than normal during tax season, so workers were called to return.
Reardon said it was difficult to create an environment where a large amount of employees could work. The allotted space was small, constant cleaning was needed and PPE needed to be provided.
Increasing the IRS budget
Reardon said that workers are suddenly supportive of a budget increase. Workers were cut during the pandemic because there was not enough room in socially distanced spaces. With restrictions being lifted and more people heading back to the office, calls have resumed for increases to the IRS budget.
Reardon said the budget could be increased without placing a burden on the middle class. The solution Reardon gave was to close loopholes in the tax code, which allow the largest earners and corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.