The power of any employee union derives directly from its members. This is no different here with NTEU as our federal employee union. Our chapter currently only has 26.1% of the available bargaining unit employees as members. If you are part of the 73.9% remaining, you have not yet added your voice to ours.
Whenever I bring up a proposal to management, they see it as a proposal brought to them by only 26.1% of the employees. And they believe that 73.9% of the employees, an overwhelming majority, does not care about what we are proposing. This is why we are currently so limited in what we can do.
Other chapters, such as NTEU Chapter 288, representing FDA employees in New England, has 64.1% of their BUEs as members. There, management works with the Union through pre-decisional involvement to tackle needs and problems. Of course, our chapter drags down the percentage agency-wide.
We will do as much as possible to help each and every BUE, regardless of membership, in accordance with the law and the CBA. But NTEU is only required to represent nonmembers with contract-related problems, not before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Merit Service Protection Board (MSPB), or in class action suits in the courts. Nor do we have to represent nonmembers in oral replies or statutory appeal cases regarding discipline or adverse actions. Oral replies are the first and often most important step in resolving proposed disciplinary and adverse actions for employees.
Of course, we will be able to do more for you if you join as a member.
I welcome and encourage your input on this important subject.