NAWCTSD employees recently (Jan'02) received an email message with subject "Your Right to Vote" from TSDvote@aol.com. As your exclusive representative, Local 2113 is obligated to point out the various misrepresentations and distortions of "pertinent points" contained within that message:


1. The writer states "there are three equal alternatives to the Labor Union available to all TSD employees."

This statement is not true. Without a Union, the employee grievances would be reviewed and adjudicated by the same agency against which such grievances were filed in a two step process with no outside appeal rights. That is not equivalent to our negotiated process which provides that an outside arbitrator may be used to decide cases which exhaust the internal three step process available to employees with our Union.

The Merit Systems Protection Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are available to employees who have Union representation as well as to those who do not. Without a Union though, to whom would you go to for information on filing statutory appeals with those Agencies? Would you go to Management, who made the decision prompting your appeal, or would you rather go to your Union, where representatives have received training in the grievance and statutory appeal rights and procedures, including MSPB and EEO? Did you know, MSPB only accepts appeals meeting certain criteria, such as, suspensions of over 14 days, loss of retirement or disability benefits, demotion, denial of within grade steps, and dismissals for cause?

With a Union, you have a three-step grievance procedure with binding arbitration, and MSPB and EEO appeal rights. Without a Union you have an Agency-controlled two step grievance process with no right to arbitration and MSPB and EEO rights with no right to a representative to help you prepare your case.


2. The TSDvote message states "the Federal Labor Relations Authority assures us that all members of the bargaining units, whether union members, or not, are legally authorized to attend the union meetings."

Although we do sometimes allow nonmembers to attend meetings as guests, and such guest attendance would be permissible, non-union members have no right to attend or participate in members' meetings. Union member meetings are for Union members. Unions are not obligated to open their meetings to nonmembers. We are highly skeptical that anyone at FLRA would have suggested otherwise. If anyone at FLRA made any such indication, then that person should be identified so that they can receive further training and cease distributing misinformation.

Every employee in a bargaining unit is entitled to equal representation without regard to union membership. This does not extend to participation in members' meetings. On the few occasions when we have expelled non- members from our meetings, such non-members have always included one or more persons who have expressed considerable hostility toward the union.


3. The TSDvote message states "employee wages, benefits and conditions of employment are provided by NAVAIR.

Our wages and benefits are defined by Congress -- not NAVAIR. At the national level AFGE vigorously lobbies Congress for equitable pay adjustments and benefit enhancements for Government workers. Many of us received a special pay raise last year for Information Technology (IT) workers. AFGE lobbyists and members lobbied vigorously for pay parity with the military resulting in a full percentage point raise (4.6% average vice 3.6%) over what the Administration recommended. Last year, AFGE helped pass legislation to repeal the one- half percent retirement surcharge, and convinced the Office of Personnel Management to exempt health insurance premiums from taxation. AFGE put money back into everyones pockets.

A labor union has the right to negotiate changes to conditions of employment as specified in 5 USC 7102 and 7114. Individuals have no such right.


4. The TSDvote message states that "approximately 120 (15%) are dues paying members."

We are at a loss to guess where the mystery writer gets his information on Union membership. Our membership changes monthly as new members join us, and other members transfer or retire. It has been a very long time since our membership was as low as 120 members. Furthermore, you don't have to be a member in order to enjoy the rights negotiated on your behalf.


5. The last point of the TSDvote message referred to Union officials' salaries being paid "from NAWCTSD overhead."

Official time is negotiated between the Agency and the Union. Unions are responsible for representing all bargaining-unit employees regardless of Union membership. In light of the facts that the bargaining unit includes some 800-900 employees, the training, research, preparation, and time which is nedessary for competent negotiation and representation is far from trivial, and considerable administrative burdens are imposed on labor organizations by existing statutes, it is indeed remarkable that the total official time cited is so low.