GAO and union reach accord

GAO, IFPTE agree to union-representation election for agency analysts

When leaders of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers filed a petition May 8 seeking to represent the Government Accountability Office’s 1,500 analysts, it was widely expected that a union election would take place within several months. But talks on developing a format and schedule for an election soon broke down.

Next, in a controversial move, GAO’s top managers hired an outside law firm to represent them before GAO’s Personnel Appeals Board, which would run the election and provide advice on navigating a union election. Then, on June 21, IFPTE filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Comptroller General David Walker, GAO’s top official.

The complaint asserted that Walker was interfering with employees’ right to unionize.

A union representative soon lamented that the whole process was “going to be a long, drawn-out thing.”

But in an unexpected move July 18, GAO and IFPTE announced they had reached an agreement to schedule a union-representation election for
Sept. 19.

The accord resolves a major point of contention between GAO and the IFPTE over analysts’ eligibility to vote in an election of 461 analysts in Band II A and B of GAO’s pay-banding system. GAO officials had argued that those employees are supervisors and therefore not eligible for union representation.

On June 14, IFPTE rejected GAO’s offer to schedule an election for July if the parties agreed to exclude Band II analysts but include about 431 probationary employees. However, GAO said when the election agreement was reported that all permanent and probationary Band I, II A and II B employees would be eligible to vote in the election.

The Personnel Appeals Board will issue the formal election agreement in the near future, GAO said.

Walker said in a statement that he was pleased with “an agreement with IFPTE that will result in a timely election. As I have consistently said, GAO recognizes and supports the right of GAO employees to organize if they choose to do so.”

GAO said that the parties also have reached “an agreement in principle that will lead to withdrawal” of IFPTE’s charge of unfair labor practice against GAO.

In voting to support a union election in May, GAO analysts voiced concern about a variety of employee issues, many relating to the agency’s pay-for-performance system, which GAO implemented in 2004.

GAO employees complained that they had little input into the system’s structure and management. Union representation would give them a voice in the system, making it more transparent and objective and making employees more accountable, they said.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group