As your NTEU National Field Representative, I assist NTEU Chapter 254 in protecting your right to have representation when meeting with Agency Management about your working conditions. Last year, Management at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkansas, took it upon themselves to bargain changes in the working conditions of several of your colleagues, namely their office arrangements. NTEU is the representative of all bargaining unit employees when it comes to your working conditions, to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect. The Agency knows this – after all, it’s the law, and the Agency also agreed to this when it negotiated the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Union. Because Management attempted to negotiate directly with its employees, and did not afford them the right to have a Union representative present when it did so, Chapter 254 decided to remind Management of their obligations by filing a grievance to make sure this does not happen in the future.
Knowing that an arbitrator would likely rule Management’s missteps as an illegal Unfair Labor Practice, the Agency settled in advance of an evidentiary hearing, and agreed to the following notice signed by the NCTR Executive Director, which you might have already seen:
The Agency acknowledges the NTEU as the exclusive representative of bargaining unit employees and recognizes its commitment to negotiate matters concerning changes in working conditions that impact bargaining unit employees.
The Agency will provide notice to the NTEU when changes occur that impact working conditions of bargaining unit employees pursuant to Article 3 of the CBA between the NTEU and the Agency.
The Agency will provide notice to the NTEU affording the Union its right to represent bargaining unit employees in formal meetings with the Employer pursuant to Article 7 of the CBA.
Without the Union, and without the Union being allowed to represent you in meetings with Management about your working conditions, Management might take advantage of its bargaining power and try to steamroll over your rights. We’re here to level the playing field, and to assist you in achieving the best working conditions, which allow you to perform the hard and vital work you do to protect this country and its citizens. If you perceive that Management is attempting to meet with you or negotiate your working conditions without allowing your union to be present, please reach out to an NTEU steward, and we will stand up for you and with you to ensure that you are treated with the dignity that you deserve.
Please post the notice on NTEU-designated bulletin boards.