As a Federal Employee, we have a Union Rep who ASSISTS US even if we choose to NOT become a Union Member. The support from the Union is Limited because we choose GENERALLY to not join the Union.
Our Beef is NOT with UNIONS, it is with CONTRACTORS who the Federal Government want for ALL MILITARY JOBS rather than a civilian workforce, which I am a member of.
Let's face it, it isn't cheap to keep a civilian employee: health benefits, paid sick and annual leave, pensions, payroll changes, overtime, family leavel annual health physicals, on the job injuries, training, pensions, death benefits, and many other cost issues.
It is MUCH EASIER to have a number of contractors bid on a job, take the lowest (reasonable bid - the law of lowest bidder HAS hanged some) versus hiring a civilian employee that needs to be handled for decades upon decades until retirement.
With the contractor, the GOVERNMENT simple writes a CHECK for payment, holds a BOND against the winner of the bid until the job is finished and then finally pays the contractor in full.
Now... The contractors who bid on Federal Jobs are NOT required to hire UNIONISED EMPLOYEES - they only need to show proof of FAIR WAGES in the JOB TITLE preformed by the contract employee.
As a Federal Employee, I will be the first to say that WE are unable to even compete against a Contractor MOST of the time - we lack the man power after multiple staffing cuts, we lack the equipment which is all out dated machinery and often lack the training - we no longer receive the GUARENTEED 40 hours a year traaining that we once had the benefit of.
The governerment WANTS contrators - because of the aging work force, they could simple wait 2 decades and we'd all be retired or dead. But they would rather spend hundreds of millions of dollare re-evaluating the cost of military facilities every few years.
The BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure list) will be coming out mid May - Navy Lakehurst is a candidate EVENTHOUGH we won the 2004 BEST NAVAL BASE IN THE WORLD AWARD - it seems unlikely the Feds are so stupid to place us on the CUT list after saying NO BASE IS BETTER THAN OURS!!!! But we are talking the Federal Government here and anything is possible.
Then there are the CA Studies which is a Bidding process where Contractors are allowed to offer bids against EVERY department in a military facility - theoretically, if the Contractor's bid seems realist and beats the IN-HOUSE cost, the contractor can take over that department - leaving the whole base intact, but having departments and divisions where NO Federal Employee is involved in the process. In our case, several years ago, 43 mechanics were fired and a contractor took over the Transportation department at our facility. Luckily, some people of wisdom created a checks and balance system and kept a Federal Employee as the OVER-SEER of the work being done and charged.
I'm not a big Union Fan - My father was a Union Negotiator (for the Employees - typically called a shop steward) and he was in wage negotiation in a trailer setup on property for that specific purpose. The employees rolled the trailer with 11 men inside, 4 getting hurt and my father (who was on the side of the employees) received a broken arm.
During the NINE MONTH STRIKE my father was a mason and was able to make a living - the $40 a week the UNION gave Strikers couldn't pay for gas money for the strikers to get back and forth to the job site.
Nope.... I BELIEVE we need an OSHA to oversee safety in all work enviroments, but UNIONS???? I think Unions hae helped KILL what little competitive edge the USA has on other countries.