Each year—once the NTEU September membership reports are finalized—chapters with membership of over 70% receive an incentive payment to mark that accomplishment. We are up to 28% membership among bargaining unit employees (BUEs) in our chapter. Although this is very low, it shows good progress since our membership level was barely 22% two years ago. Still, we have a lot of work to do to reach the highly-coveted 70% membership level.
Recruiting new members and building our union from the ground up is one of the most important things we do every day. A strong and growing membership is the most effective way to increase our power and influence in every arena where decisions are being made about federal employees.
With each member we recruit, our union grows stronger. Representing significant percentages of employees in FDA who are members gives real meaning and impact to our collective voices. The reality is that HHS and FDA are well aware of our membership numbers and the percentage of BUE who pay dues to NTEU. Strong membership levels also sends a message to Congress that we are standing with NTEU, and NTEU stands with us.
While Union membership is voluntary, members pay dues that cover the costs of negotiations and contract support for all BUEs. It costs money to negotiate contracts, lobby Congress, and represent employees. All who benefit should share the expense, right?
The Union represents every BUE in contract-related problems. But we can also represent members before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Merit Service Protection Board (MSPB), or in class action lawsuits in the courts, as resources allow. We can represent members 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.
We survey members about what they would like in a national or local agreement. Every BUE is covered by what the Union negotiates even if only members give input in what we negotiate, and only members get to vote on ratifying the contract.
As a member, you can take an active part in decision-making, vote, hold office, and have a voice in the union. As a member, you have a say in workplace decisions affecting you. As a member, you can serve as the Union representative on any workgroup, task force, or on any of the other teams that are formed to address workplace issues, which may be very important to you.
To join the Union, per Article 8 of the CBA, BUEs just have to complete Standard Form 1187 (SF-1187), Request for Payroll Deductions for Labor Organization Dues, in their computer and email it to the chapter president, for processing, using the Email button in the form. The BUE will become a Union member instantly, but the Union dues will take one or two pay periods to reflect in her/his Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
In the midst of all the challenges we face every day, we must be relentless in our efforts to use those challenges to add to our voice and sign up every nonmember to stand with us in these important fights. Thank you in advance for your continuing efforts to sign up every employee so we can say without a doubt that we speak on behalf of the entire bargaining unit in FDA. With your help, we will grow in size, resources, and ability to achieve better results in grievances and negotiations.
An NTEU membership is an investment in the future.