NCUA Examiners Get The OK For Union Elections

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In the culmination of a year-long organizing effort, rank-and-file employees at NCUA voted last week to form a collective bargaining unit under the auspices of the National Treasury Employees Union.

The vote was 345 to 220 for a local that will represent 800 of NCUA's 930 employees, with only management not represented.

NCUA, which had objected to the union effort, recognized the vote and vowed to move ahead. "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," said Len Skiles, executive director for the agency. "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," said Skiles.

Representatives of the NTEU, which represents 150,000 workers at 29 federal agencies including FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, applauded the vote, which was delayed a few months after NCUA challenged the eligibility of examiners to be represented.

"We were confident that once NCUA employees had the opportunity to express themselves in a vote, they would choose to join with so many others in the federal financial regulatory community," said Colleen Kelley, president of the NTEU. "We look forward to representing them effectively and to establishing a good working relationship with NCUA management."

The month-long ballot was culminated by an in-person vote of about 200 employees at NCUA's Virginia headquarters and those at its mid-Atlantic Region Two office, located in the same building. The rest of the eligible employees at the agency's four other offices voted by mail.

The ballot was conducted by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which has jurisdiction over labor relations among federal agencies.

NCUA had challenged the eligibility of examiners to join the union, arguing that examiners were supervisors or members of management, and thus ineligible to participate. But the FLRA rejected that argument, ruling that examiners are not to be considered supervisors or management because they do not make policy. In fact, NTEU already represents examiners at FDIC and the Comptroller of the Currency.

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