Dec 3, 2008

Unions Angered as Bush Further Limits Eligibility

Order Affects National Security Workers
By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff Writer

Government unions yesterday criticized a White House executive order that bars certain workers at five federal departments from joining a union because they are engaged in intelligence gathering, investigations and other national security work.

Offices covered by the order employ about 8,600 people within the Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation and Treasury departments. About 900 of them are Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives workers who have chosen to participate in collective bargaining and will lose their negotiated work rules, a White House spokesman said. Such rules typically cover working hours, scheduling and promotion procedures, for example.

The National Treasury Employees Union, however, said the order covers about 1,500 workers in the ATF bargaining unit at the Justice Department, plus about 50 in the Office of International Affairs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Homeland Security Department.

Workers at other offices typically have not sought or were previously prohibited from collective bargaining.

White House spokesman Scott M. Stanzel said President Bush signed the order Monday to reflect intelligence and homeland security agency reorganizations since he took office and "to make sure we are able to effectively carry out those primary functions that are vital to our national security."

Executive Order 12171, issued by President Jimmy Carter in the 1979, allows the president to exclude workers engaged in national security from the Federal Labor-Management Relations Program. Bush's order marked its 12th amendment.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the NTEU, said ATF workers were stripped of labor rights for no justifiable reason, including bargaining agreements reached in April.

ATF employees "have had collective bargaining rights for more than 30 years and there is no indication that having those rights interfered with their mission before," Kelley said in a statement, vowing to work with President-elect Barack Obama's administration to overturn Bush's order.

Peter Winch, national organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees, called the move "an abuse of discretion in the last few days" of Bush's tenure, noting that ATF was reorganized and moved from Treasury to the Justice Department in 2003.

"From then to now, from last week to today, what has changed from the national security perspective? These workers' rights are not trivial," Winch said.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

The unions have made mess of the auto industry (UAW) and of our educational system (NEA). National security is far to important to allow the unions to mess it up.

Anonymous said...

The LANL UPTE organization has done absolutely nothing for the employees. Manuel Trujillo and Theresa Connaughton were past/current Presidents of the organization and managed to get management positions with their supposed clout leaving the employee out to dry!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure what these workers got with this Bush change is "substantially equivalent" to what they had before.

Anonymous said...

Unions have done wonders for our public education system :)

Anonymous said...

Like having a 40 hour work week? Unions made it possible. Like having insurance, sick leave, and paid vacations? Unions made that possible. Are you working in a safe environment? You got it unions did that too. A lot of necessities and benefits are available to American workers because union members put their welfare and livelihood on the line. If LANL had a strong union, people wouldn't griping about management at LANL. Because having a UNION would put employees on an equal footing. Management wouldn't be able to make its unilateral changes like it has done and, sorry to say, will continue to do.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are not making any sense. Take management's dick out of your mouth and try to speak more clearly.

Anonymous said...

This is in the blog WHY???

Anonymous said...

National security is far too important to let the President mess it up. Our current President has messed up more than his fair share.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/3/08 7:36 PM lists the positive achievements of unions and is correct. BUT, times have changed. Industries such as the Detroit automakers and public services such as education have been ruined by the recent behavior of their respective unions.

Anonymous said...

UPTE is NOT a union. The never got enough authorization cards signed to even have a certification election.

People such as Manny Trujillo and Chuck Montano will never be trusted by the LANS employees.

Anonymous said...

According to the Center for Economic Policy, women in unions are better off in pay and benefits.

"Gains from union membership large, even compared to benefits of college education."

See the report here:
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/unionization-substantially-improves-the-pay-and-benefits-of-women-workers/

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/4/08 7:57 AM writes:
"According to the Center for Economic Policy, women in unions are better off in pay and benefits."

I am sure that this is probably true. For instance the UAW women who are laid off will get the same unemployment benefits as the UAW men.

Inquisitive Group Leader said...

If the 40-hour workweek is so wonderful, how come my nonexempt employees are always coming up with reasons why I should let them work overtime?

Anonymous said...

No wonder you are a group leader at LANL. Maybe economy 101 would help you, but then again I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

"If the 40-hour workweek is so wonderful, how come my nonexempt employees are always coming up with reasons why I should let them work overtime?"

Because they are elligible for time and a half. Not bad coin for a little overtime.

Anonymous said...

"The unions have made mess of the auto industry (UAW) and of our educational system (NEA). National security is far to important to allow the unions to mess it up."

This is pure, utter, BALONEY! Our educational system does not work because PARENTS HAVE ABROGATED THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES. Our educational system struggles to implement more and more programs to try to encourage kids to want to learn because parents are not doing that. The ones who have made a mess of the system and have forced school districts to assume more and more responsibility for children are the parents who have checked out. They plunk their kids in front of TVs and video games and do not prepare their children to be educated or support education in their local school districts. They spend their time working and drinking, thus teaching their kids that they have too much to do to spend time with them and that the only way to relax is to drink. Kids feel unimportant and turn to drugs and mentally drop out of school.

Quit taking the easy way out and blaming the NEA. Parents are responsible for their children and are responsible for making them ready for school. Get off your duff, visit your local school, and find out how teachers struggle daily to educate those who do not want to be educated.

Anonymous said...

With the death of unions, the US has seen a huge skewing of wealth to the top 1% wage earners. Keep up the union bashing. Many people in the declining middle class have already become "debt" slaves. With a little more work at tearing down worker's rights maybe we can turn them into the real McCoy. At least the slavery won't be based on skin color this time around.

Anonymous said...

"Dude, you are not making any sense. Take management's dick out of your mouth and try to speak more clearly."

This, from the best and the brightest.

This guy should stick to reading the posts and not penning them.

Anonymous said...

Given the crappy state of the FIE, maybe collective bargaining would improve it.

Anonymous said...

National security is far too important to let the President mess it up.

No its not, the past 8 years contradict this assertion.

Now lax oversight of the securities industry, that remains to be seen