Many unions have offered cash incentives for employees to become members and to the members who sign them up. But we have never seen a program like the National Weather Service Employees Organization has in place.  For example, every eligible bargaining unit employee who joins less than one year after their hire date receives a NWSEO dues rebate in the form of a $500 Visa gift card in their welcome packet. If they join after a year of employment, they get $250 and the members who sign these folks up get a $100 certificate per new member. No wonder the union recently had more members than it has ever had. NWSEO has set the standard for determining just how important new members are. Here’s hoping that other unions, especially those sitting on a bundle of surplus cash and investments, follow NWSEO’s lead.

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When we started back in 2011 we decided to focus on passing labor relations and EEO information to union reps in all federal sector unions.  But the longer we look at how unions operate, the more we are convinced that it is time to add a third area of emphasis, i.e., union democracy.  Over time ALL organizations develop a bureaucracy and if bureaucracies do one thing it is that they tend to give the top leadership tier of an organization more power at the expense of others’ influence.  That is generally not good.  So, in the future, you can expect to see more stories about dues systems scams, union committee manipulation, election tricks, convention games, finance schemes, and the lack of checks and balances on union presidents’ power. This is not a decision we reached lightly. We could have taken this on anytime in the last 12 years we have been publishing, but it was only recently that saw how pervasive leadership oppression and/or control has become. As always, we will welcome your ideas about issues we should target. 

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We are always on the lookout for employee needs that employers can help satisfy.  Here is a good article that can help fed unions pursue some beneficial changes.  It is from Morningstar.com and entitled, “Menopause Benefits Can Keep Women In The Workplace For Longer — And Save Companies Millions Of Dollars.

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There is a truck full to EEOC case law rejecting an employee claims that they were treated differently than co-workers because the co-workers were not “similarly situated.”  That is a different way of saying that because the employee’s situation was not nearly identical to that of the specified co-workers the agency was permitted to treat them differently and less severely. That can scare a lot of employees away from even trying to get help from EEOC, but a new decision highlights that there is a subtle way around it. Continue reading

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EEOC just explained to the Dep’t. of Veteran Affairs how quoting the bible at the workplace can violate an employee’s civil rights. It wrote, “the use of a Bible verse, alone, in the context of condemnation of sexual identity is sufficient to rise to the level of harassment.” In other words, if one or more co-workers are taunting an employee about their sexual orientation and among the taunts is a posted or orally repeated bible quote, then someone likely is about to be disciplined while the agency islikely to be writing the employee a check for the harm done. Continue reading

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A percentage of your co-workers who refuse to join the union do so because they believe that managers would never be deliberately unfair to them, and even if they were, the “civil service system” would stop them before they did harm.  There are also those among your co-workers who believe in tooth fairies, candy-laden bunnies, and flying red-nosed reindeer. But for now, we want to give you something to pass on to the first group. EEOC just issued a decision in which it found that a couple of managers did this to an employee: Continue reading

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There are lots of situations inside and outside government where some manager is “miffed” that s/he must respect an employee’s rights under the law and they might walk away muttering to themselves—maybe even kick something.  But where they also use the approval of the employee’s exercise of a right to tell the employee to shape up, they can be liable for paying the employee and dealing with a new set of headaches. For example, in this case, a supervisor issued an employee a memo directly referencing the employee’s requests for official time to work on his EEO complaint.  It explained that he was granted 20 hours of official time, but would not get any more. The supervisor then explained that the employee needed to “immediately improve [his] conduct by following instructions provided to [him] regarding the amount of official time that has already been provided to you . . . .”  Continue reading

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It may be your best friend if your union is trying to punish you for exercising your rights under the federal Bill of Rights (29 CFR 458.2) most union members enjoy. Those include your “free speech” right to criticize union officials at union meetings or in literature and email distributions, which the federal courts have said can NEVER be waived. It may not surprise you, but most union leaders absolutely hate being criticized by members, much less formally challenged.  Their power is everything to them and they have shown they are more than willing to use it swiftly and with crushing force when they suspect dissent. Often, that means an individual union member is alone to fight back against a multi-million dollar union or what no one would call a fair fight.  That is where the AUD can help with legal assistance, media contacts, and legislative contacts.  Check out their website here.  (https://uniondemocracy.org/about-us/) They can be a lifesaver for the union member. This is a first in a series of posts about all the pro bono help available to  union members being bullied.

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Yes, Americans are still getting used to using the proper pronoun in gender identity and transgender situations.   But EEOC has made it crystal clear they are legally obligated to do so at work or risk violating the law. The Commission has found that “intentionally misusing a transgender complainant’s pronouns would be offensive and demeaning to a reasonable person in that complainant’s position…(“While inadvertent and isolated slips of the tongue likely would not constitute harassment,” the record reflected that the supervisor intentionally referred to complainant with a male name and male pronouns to “humiliate and ridicule” her).” See Joi J., v. Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General, EEOC No. 2022000712 (2023) and Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC No. 0120133395 (2015). When several co-workers of a transgender employee regularly chose to ignore her preferred identity and pronoun, EEOC ordered that,… Continue reading

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Although the Impasses Panel’s decisions are not precedent for other parties, it pays to know what they are doing in other cases, especially if your own union is bargaining over Telework matters.  The Panel just issued a decision addressing how many days a week or pay period an employee can telework.  We recommend those of you in similar negotiations read it.  Click here for a copy.

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