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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The votes are all in and counted; NCUA employees will now have union representation. After a year-long process, including an unsuccessful objection from the agency about whether examiners qualified as part of the bargaining unit, eligible NCUA employees voted June 30, 345-220, in favor of representation by the National Treasury Employees Union. NTEU already represents 150,000 employees in 30 different government agencies. NCUA’s bargaining unit has a potential of 800 employees. NTEU President Colleen Kelley said the union already has commitments from about 300 to join. Kelley explained that they have begun their internal procedures for chartering Chapter 303 at NCUA. She will appoint interim officers from among the membership, likely those “NCUA employees that were active in the organization.” The first election will probably be held in a couple of months. NTEU expects to meet with NCUA very shortly for an administrative-type meeting, Kelley said. “I hope they’re going try to have a positive, functional, and effective relationship with us,” she added. Many relationships between the union and management are adversarial, she admitted. The administration in power makes a difference and President George W. Bush has been anti-union, which the agencies may take their cue from. Kelley pointed to the agency’s challenge of the field examiners as part of the bargaining unit as not necessarily a positive sign; it may have even pushed some to vote in favor of the union, she pointed out. “We hope they’re interested in putting those kind of tactics behind us,” she said. NCUA declined to comment beyond the statement made immediately following the vote, which came from Executive Director Len Skiles, stating, “In light of this vote and the expression from our employees, NCUA officials will be meeting with NTEU and bargaining unit representatives in the near future to begin the process of developing a collective bargaining agreement. We greatly appreciate all employees who took the time to consider this important issue and vote. NCUA’s employees are its most valuable asset and we look forward to a continuation of the excellent working relationship we have had in our joint commitment of fulfilling our statutory mission.” NTEU will then survey the membership to find out what is most important to them as the union heads into the first negotiations with the agency. This will include basic things like establishing dispute resolution procedures and looking at some recent changes NCUA had made regarding alternative work schedules and overtime policies. “Often these decisions are made unilaterally by management,” she commented. The chapter will decide on how often it meets, but some others meet quarterly or annually. With NCUA employees located all over the country, the union will probably take advantage of times that most are in one place for training or other meetings. “Our goal is we want NCUA to be successful,” Kelley commented. If it is not, the employees are not successful. [email protected]

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