Federal workers union frustrated by OPM hack response

Cybersecurity Policy Player

A major federal workers' union is unhappy with how the Office of Personnel Management is handling fallout from the massive data theft of 4 million federal employees’ records.

The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), which represents over 110,000 government employees across the country, said it has received limited answers from the government and insufficient customer service from the company hired to help protect their members from identity fraud following the hack.

“Right now, federal employees are rightfully frustrated with the response offered following this cybersecurity breach,” said NFFE National President William Dougan in a statement. “Federal workers have had their personal and financial information exposed at no fault of their own.”

In the wake of the breach, OPM brought on identity-fraud protection company CSID at a cost of $20 million to give government employees robust identity-monitoring services for 18 months.

OPM told unions their members could start signing up for the complementary program on Monday via a PIN code that CSID would send by email or physical mail. Workers could also receive the PIN by calling CSID, OPM said.

But the union said individual members haven’t received the emails yet and that CSID won’t take their calls. The company’s phone number simply leads to a recorded message advising employees to wait for their PIN.

“They cannot even get through to a live human to answer their questions,” Dougan said. “Federal employees deserve better than this.”

CSID and the OPM have not responded to a request for comment.

The OPM has been in regular contact with federal unions, updating them as the agency scrambles to figure out the full scale and scope of the breach.

But Dougan said the information has been unsatisfactory.

“We want to start seeing real answers to the legitimate and numerous concerns of exposed federal employees,” he said. “While we understand there is immense complexity with reviewing a cyberattack, the response to this point has been inadequate.

"There needs to be far more transparency and support provided in this trying time for federal employees,” he added.