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