GOP Congressman Renews Attack on Federal Workers

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

The GOP Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is asking more than two dozen federal agencies for the names of individual employees allowed to do union-related work on federal time.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) alleges no wrongdoing, but is probing the use of “official time,” which allows some federal employees, including National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) members, to work part or full time on representing and servicing union-represented employees while being paid by the government. Chaffetz’s letters demand information on individual workers, including name, title, salary and duty station.

There are serious time constraints on federal labor representatives, who are required to represent everyone in a bargaining unit, even those who don’t pay union dues.

“I think it’s really a witch hunt on federal employees,” NFFE-IAM National President William Dougan told The Washington Post . “What on God’s Earth do they need the names for, unless… they want to seek them out individually?”

The letters come as the committee is considering legislation questioning the long-held practice of official time. The deceptively named Federal Employee Rights Act (H.R. 4461 ) — a bill that does absolutely nothing to protect the rights of federal employees — is an attack on basic constitutional rights of federal workers.

“The bill places an unreasonable burden on an employee’s right to join a union, guts democratically-decided union elections and creates excessive levels of bureaucratic red tape for federal employees to exercise their first amendment freedom to assembly,” said Dougan. “This bill is aimed at destroying federal employee unions, nothing more.”

Chaffetz and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) also want to tack on blame to federal employee unions for last summer’s computer hack of the Office of Personnel Management. They claim the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) “made it harder” to protect files after filing a grievance against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a new policy prohibiting access to personal email from agency computers. ICE lost the case before an arbitrator and then again on appeal to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Bryant to Succeed Tucker as Eastern Territory GVP

Brian Bryant
Lynn D. Tucker, Jr.

IAM International President Bob Martinez announced that Eastern Territory Chief of Staff Brian Bryant will succeed retiring Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., effective July 1, 2016.

Tucker, a 40-year IAM member, initiated into the IAM in 1976 while working for the Miller Brewing Co., in Fulton, NY. He quickly became involved is his union, serving as Shop Steward, Senior Steward, Local Lodge President and Vice President, and Vice President of the New York State Council of Machinists. Tucker was elected to serve as a District 137 Business Representative in 1986, then appointed to Eastern Territory Special Representative in 1989 and advanced to Grand Lodge Representative in 1991. Tucker became the Administrative Assistant to Eastern Territory General Vice President George Poulin in 1992 before being elected General Vice President himself in 2003.

“We’re all tremendously grateful to Lynn for his tireless advocacy on behalf of thousands of IAM members,” said Martinez. “From his work on the Seaway Task Force to his aggressive and innovative organizing efforts, Brother Tucker has always served our Eastern Territory members well. We thank him for his service and wish him a happy and healthy retirement.”

Brian Bryant initiated into the IAM in 1989 when he joined Local S6 while employed at Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME. A pipefitter by trade, Bryant became active in his Local Lodge serving on various committees and was elected Shop Steward, Trustee, and President of Local Lodge S6. He also served on the executive Board of the Maine AFL-CIO, and in 1998 was elected Directing Business Representative of District 4. In 2004, Bryant was appointed Eastern Territory Special Representative and in 2006 became a Grand Lodge Representative assigned to the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, as well as shipbuilding and repair in the Eastern Territory. Tucker reassigned Bryant in 2008 to the Eastern Territory office in Cincinnati to handle all National Labor Relations Board activity for the territory. On July 1, 2009 he was appointed to the position of Chief of Staff of the Eastern Territory.

“Brian brings a wealth of experience and leadership skills to the position,” said Tucker. “As my chief of staff, his abilities were only overshadowed by his unending work ethic and dedication to the IAM and its membership. The future is in very capable hands.”

Arizona Army Base Workers Vote IAM 'Yes'

Nearly 800 new members will be joining the IAM at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, AZ, reports Western Territory Grand Lodge Representatives Don Gresham and Steve Nickel, along with Local 2009 Directing Business Representative Paul Shepard.

The campaign was unique in that negotiations had started for the smaller units prior to the rest of the unit organizing.

“The Negotiations Preparation class at the IAM’s William W Winpisinger Education Center was critical in this campaign in that it not only prepared the negotiations committee for bargaining, but also helped organize the rest of the unit,” said Gresham.  “The negotiations committee played a key role in organizing the remainder of the workforce.”

The civilian workers support men and women of the armed services in various important missions.

“I welcome and congratulate these workers for unifying and choosing to invest in themselves and their families’ future prosperity by joining the Machinists Union,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “A strong IAM contract in Yuma will go a long way toward bringing economic security to our members and the community they live in.”