As the National Field Representative for NTEU Chapter 254, I know first-hand how important the work of the employees of the FDA is to protecting my food supply and ensuring the safety of medicines that keep us all safe and healthy. Your dedication and expertise is paramount to keep our country secure. I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for your service to the United States of America.
Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates your passion and professionalism. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed to completely eliminate large swaths of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which would destroy your right to awards, to telework, to work an alternative or compressed work schedule, to challenge your performance evaluation should you disagree with your supervisor’s assessment of your hard work, and so many other workplace benefits that NTEU has negotiated for you and that you have earned as a professional and civil servant. You have all chosen to serve your country in lieu of private sector lucre, and it is simply not good enough for the government to treat you like this.
NTEU represents dozens of government departments and agencies, and while much of the poor treatment foisted upon federal employees is universal, I can tell you that HHS has been particularly anti-employee in recent months and years. I am the National Field Representative for your chapter as well as for employees of the IRS, and while no federal employees are being treated as well as they deserve to be, the treatment foisted upon you by HHS is uniquely anti-employee and disrespectful. Unfortunately, NTEU membership across the board in HHS is lower than in other agencies such as IRS, and management knows that its employees do not always speak with one voice. They know that we cannot succeed while divided, and want us to continue to have low union membership so they can get away with taking away your workplace benefits.
Yes, I am your National Field Representative, but I am also a proud American, and I take issue with how you are treated since you protect me day in and day out. I simply do not understand why HHS wants to take away your rights. Neither does Chapter 254, which represents hundreds of you from Des Moines to Santa Fe, from San Antonio to Omaha, and everywhere in between. Please contact your local Chapter 254 steward, or Chapter President David Arvelo, to voice your concerns. And, if you are not yet a member of our team, please consider joining, as we are stronger together, and we need to fight management excesses now more than ever.