AFGE 2113 RESPONSE TO ANONYMOUS EMAIL

Half truths, pure fiction, and misleading pronouncements -- they do nothing to advance substantive employee debate about issues as important as whether we vote Union Yes! or decide not to have a Union at NAWCTSD. A series of anonymous e-mails sent to employees last week are part of a misleading campaign of blatant distortions, not the truth. Why anonymous e-mail? Are the real perpetrators afraid to reveal themselves and engage in an honest debate of the truth? We think so.

In contrast, the Union held a Union Fair last week and will hold one again this week for employees to meet their Union representatives, to ask questions, and to get honest answers and real information. We think employees want a Union. To encourage all eligible voters to send in their votes, the Union is raffling a DVD player for displaying a sealed ballot ready to mail.

These anonymous writers either don't know the truth, chose to ignore the truth, don't care about the truth, or grossly misunderstand the laws governing labor management processes, take your pick.

The writers either don't know the truth about the terms "professional" vs. "non- professional" or they deliberately misrepresent our LMA's use of these terms. If the writers wanted the truth, a Union official would explain the definition of professional and non- professional are terms used by the Department of Labor to describe whether or not a degree is required to hold a position covered by the bargaining unit. Was the writers' intent to deliberately mislead employees into believing something different? Most Union members know the difference, ask them.

The writers ignore the truth and claim that entitlements in the LMA were not initiated by the Union but are required by law. If that is so, then why did the Union have to use legal procedures in 1993, to force Management to keep at least two RDOs at this facility when Management wanted only one RDO and concurrent shut-down day? Without a Union, you're not entitled to any choice. The law allows flexible, compressed, and fixed work schedules; it does not mandate a choice. Without a Union, Management would decide not you, Management could even decide that a fixed schedule from 0700-1530 with a half hour lunch, is best for employees. Our Union-negotiated benefits allow fixed, flexible and compressed work schedules with an employee's choice contractually binding on the Agency. The right to employees' choice of either Friday as RDO is a contractual right, not statutory. NAWCAD and NAVAIR have one RDO with no employee choice. Your choice -- Union Yes! with two RDOs, or Management's choice? What choice does anonymous give you?

The writers claim only union members can vote for union officers. Well, Duh! The Department of Labor mandates strict guidelines for election of union officers, and requires that only Union members be allowed to vote. Potential members can and do attend Union meetings. Employees who want to disrupt Union meetings can and will be asked to leave. We had three non- members attend the last meeting.

The writers claim that only union members have had grievances go to arbitration. While that part is true, Union membership is not a criterion for deciding whether a case warrants arbitration. Out of five cases brought before the Union, three cases were approved for arbitration, and two cases were disapproved. Of the two disapproved cases, both were Union member grievances and both were disapproved based on the merits of the case. Arbitration costs are upwards of $6000.00, and all cases are carefully evaluated for and decided based upon effect on the bargaining unit, individual effect, and merit. The Union has also represented both non-members and members grievances successfully to resolution without the need for arbitration. The Union's goal is to settle grievances at the lowest level by having both sides fully explain their position. Management has more times then not, reconsidered and reversed their decisions once all the facts were known.

The anonymous writer claims the Union requested financial records for some employees and the Command sought third party decision to refuse. This claim is a complete fabrication. We can't explain more because we have never asked for employee financial data. We receive copies of awards data as part of the Awards Oversight Panel. Maybe Management's labor relations specialist whom we believe is providing data to the writers can elucidate.

The anonymous writer asks, "Why aren't there more dues paying members?" Many employees will use the services of the Union but don't join because they aren't required to be a member to enjoy our benefits. Since the Union represents all employees equally, the tradeoff is that the law allows us to negotiate official time in exchange for not requiring employees to join.

Our members pay dues because they believe our Union is the only voice they can rely on to protect employee interests. Our members pay because employees want dignity and respect on the job, not to be treated like second class citizens. Our members pay because they want the Union to stand up for employee rights, to negotiate favorable working conditions, to provide the check and balance for fairness and equity in the workplace.

Why pay if you can ride for free? Obviously, the anti-union writers have been riding for free. In my book, they are freeloaders who complain about getting something for free, but are unwilling to help the Union make things better. They don't want a Union, and they don't want you to have one either.

The writers claim you are better off without the Union because you can represent yourself or you can chose someone else to represent you. Do you want to represent yourself? Have you ever been the subject of an investigation? If you were, who would you call if the Union is not here? Can you afford a lawyer? Can you find a lawyer familiar with federal law? Union member dues help pay for Union representatives to attend specialized training, and union dues help pay for access to Union lawyers and national representatives schooled in federal labor law. What does that cost the employee? Nothing! Every employee benefits from our knowledge and our members' willingness to pay Union dues.

In a perfect world, Management knows the rules and abides by the law, and everyone gets along. No one is perfect, and mistakes are made. Do you see favoritism in work assignments or promotions, do you feel safe or knowledgeable in asserting your right to grieve or appeal Management decisions? We have a Union so the employee has an advocate and can ask for help without fear of retribution.

The real source of the anonymous e- mails and the associated web site has been traced back to a Jonathon Kolb. Is this the son of Mike Kolb? If so, why is Mike hiding behind his son? Who are these anti-union employees and what will they gain by not having a Union?

We believe, the political distortion offered by the anonymous writers does nothing to advance real debate about the value of a Union. Visit us at the Union Fair, or visit our web site at: www.mindspring.com/~afge2113.