That’s right, even though the staffers at Fedsmill consider themselves to be diehard supporters of unions, we must call a foul when we see top union leaders behave so miserably toward a group of their employees. Every federal employee who completes a probationary or trial period is entitled to challenge an agency’s decision to fire him or her to a hearing before a third party neutral.  Moreover, this neutral can not only order the terminated employee reinstated, but in certain cases give money damages beyond any back pay entitlement and order the agency to consider discipline the agency manager who imposed the termination.  Additionally, even those employees no longer in the bargaining unit, namely those who became managers or confidential employees are entitled to due process before being fired. Finally, as best as I can tell the non-supervisory staff of every federal employee union has formed their own union and have the right to challenge any disciplinary action to arbitration. That leaves only one group of employees on the staff of these unions or among the people they represent who are totally exposed to unfair, arbitrary, capricious and retaliatory terminations without an opportunity to challenge.  I am talking about…

those union  staffers who prove themselves to the best among their colleagues and who get selected into management or non-unit positions by America’s top union leaders. These top leaders are the same folks who make a living publicly criticizing and challenging others for being unfair. It seems to us that an employee of a federal sector union should never lose rights when selected for promotion into a tougher job. This is especially true for the right to protection against an unwarranted, mean-spirited promotion by a union’s top executive.  Why?  Because they have been known to place their own interests, even something as petty as trying to demonstrate what a powerful goliath he or she is, over those of the members, no matter how much money or value it costs the members.
Frankly, no one in a federal employee union bargaining unit position protected against arbitrary dismissal should ever apply for a non-unit position. If unit staffers think that union executives are incapable of promoting someone out of a unit position just to leave them exposed to being fired for some petty reason without recourse, then they are terribly naïve.

Some top union leaders tell anyone who will listen that they are all about enforcing certain values for the betterment of employees everywhere. They see themselves as following in the footsteps of Mother Teresa, Ghandi, MLK, and Robin Hood.  They are crusading heroes in their own eyes.

But the reality is that they have decided to maintain a group of employees as their personal puppets whose strings they can cut whenever they feel the slightest need to do so. That makes them much closer to a mid-1700s plantation owner.

Why am I being so hard on top federal sector union leaders? Because they have the power to change this in the blink of an eye. They can announce at any time that they are giving non-unit employees the right to challenge any dismissal or other significantly adverse action to binding arbitration. If they feel uncomfortable doing so on their own initiative, they can ask the Executive Board to endorse and/or impose the right. Or even put a Constitutional Amendment before the next convention inscribing the right.

The fact that these self-proclaimed champions of employee justice have not done so begs the question “Why not?” It also raises the question of why union members should invest hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union treasury tens developing a newly hired staffer into a top performer for union members only to permit the union’s CEO to toss that asset to the curb like a bag of White Castle trash. Why not just give the union president the power to set $100,000.00 of member’s dues money on fire whenever he comes to work in a bad mood, is feeling inadequate, has a bout of paranoia, or is angry some staffer chose another staffer as an intimate partner over the president? There is no difference.

We at Fedsmill.com cannot do a single tangible thing about this other than to make it a recurring subject of our posts.  But union members can do a lot to lift their organizations out of the era of letting their CEO’s virtually own these non-unit employees. If fairness is not enough to motivate members to demand change them consider that when the union CEO has the power to totally cut off a family’s livelihood in the blink of an eye for no reason at all that CEO can get that staff to do some pretty unspeakable things to other people in the union, particularly members and local leaders.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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2 Responses to

  1. DOD says:

    C’mon man, not White Castle! I agree, excellent post! Union’s are terrible employers because they don’t practice what they preach!

  2. Derrick O. Davis says:

    C’mon man, not White Castle! I agree, excellent post! Union’s are terrible employers because they don’t practice what they preach!

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