‘The better bill should win’ – GFT now supporting Sen. Nelson bill for GovGuam employee double-pay

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Just one day after publicly supporting Bill 359, the so-called “compromise-bill” on GovGuam employee pandemic-pay issues, the Guam Federation of Teachers issued a release saying they’re now in favor of Speaker Telena Nelson’s measures for double-pay instead.

In their release, GFT president Timothy Fedenko said, “it has come to the attention of GFT that many of our members and Government of Guam Employees have expressed concerns regarding GFT’s support of Bill No. 359-35.”

The release says that over the weekend, GFT Field Representative Robert Koss was invited by Speaker Barnes and other Senators to assist in crafting legislation that would justify fair compensation for employees required to work during the Emergency Period.

“At this time we were told that $15 million was the allocated budget. Out of that meeting came Bill No. 359, which would grant Classified Employees required to work during that time one hour of annual leave for every hour worked. We felt this was a fair compromise, as prior to this meeting, GFT had not received any legislative support in attempting to compensate Gov. Guam Employees.”

GFT said it is strongly encouraging lawmakers to amend the language in the bill to include the following: the Emergency period beginning on March 14, 2020; forty-three hour work-weeks for Law Enforcement and other personnel, and to address the lack of annual leave given to DOE nurses.

During a press conference on Monday, in which GFT was vocally supportive on Bill 359, Fedenko says that’s when GFT was made aware of Bill 357-35, introduced by Senator Telena Nelson.

That bill advocates for Double Pay to all employees.

“GFT has also since learned that there is funding available that would support such a bill. We are not against any bill that supports our workforce. The better bill should win and we support any equity that supports our COVID-19 heroes. We do not know what the final bill will look like, however, if we feel our members have been equitably compensated without damaging our government and allowing money to be spent for others in need, we will seek alternative courses of action.”

Fedenko went onto say that they will continue to do, “what we believe is in their [our members] best interest.”

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