WHY FEDSMILL WILL EXISTS AFTER 1,000 POSTS TO DATE
Although management usually has more power than employees, a union rep with expert knowledge of what law, regulation and contract already entitled employees to and who knows multiple ways to solve the same problem can tame that power substantially. Given that most unions do little to tell its local officers and stewards about developments stemming from cases other than their own union’s work, Fedsmill tries to keep those folks up to date on developments no matter which union or venue generates the developments.
One of the great failings of the American education system is that it does not spend six seconds over the first 18 years of a citizen’s life educating them on the employment laws, regulations, and practices that will control the next 50 or so years they will spend in the work force. In contrast, hours are spent on such “vital” life skills as the Peloponnesian War, how to calculate a co-sign and when to use lay versus lie. Surprisingly, unions do virtually nothing to correct that blind spot for members other than a story or two about a case in the national monthly newsletter—funded and distributed mainly to boost the political careers of elected officials. That lack of knowledge among citizens is a major, although rarely discussed, reason why people generally do not see how unions can help them.
Having just posted our 1,000th article, we are going to shift our editorial plan a bit. More of our future posts will be written as pieces that a local can merely copy and e-mail forward to all unit employees without any additional effort. (Unions are free to copy and use anything we create and post.) They will generally be pieces selected to help fill their knowledge gap about their rights in the workplace. After all, if employees know more about their rights, they should see more reason to hook up with the union to enforce those rights. These will be tagged as PASS ME ON posts.
A second modification will be to boost the number of quizzes we post. The intent here is that local leaders can use them with stewards to sharpen the focus of their expertise. We hope that all local presidents sign up their stewards to get our posting as they come out. It is as easy as sending us an e-mail at FEDSMILL.com or via the subscribe box.
One is not an expert because s/he knows about ULPs nor that discrimination can be challenged through the grievance procedure or EEOC. Federal sector labor relations is far, far more complicated then the private sector thanks to —
- statutory provisions in the US. Code,
- regulations in the CFR,
- policies, manuals, and appeal routes available through OPM, MSPB, OSC, DOL, EEOC, FLRA, GSA, and OMB,
- thousands of federal court cases,
- tens of thousands of administrative law cases,
- hundreds of past practices, and
- the collective bargaining agreement terms.
Fedsmill tries to cherry pick the most useful precedents and requirements of each to help union folks counter-balance management’s simple raw power.