GAO, union agree on representation election

The Government Accountability Office and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), a trade union, announced July 18 that they have reached agreement providing for a union-representation election Sept. 19.

The accord resolves a point of contention between GAO and the union about the eligibility to vote in an election of 461 analysts in Band II B of GAO’s pay-banding system. GAO officials had argued that those employees are supervisors and therefore ineligible for union representation. However, GAO said July 18 that all permanent and probationary Band I, II A and II B employees will be eligible to vote in the election.

The election process will be conducted by GAO’s Personnel Appeals Board, which will issue the formal election agreement in the near future, GAO said.

In a statement, Comptroller General David Walker, head of GAO, said 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.”

“IFPTE is grateful for the diligent efforts of all the people who had a hand in bringing this agreement about, and we look forward to continued mutual cooperation as we move forward to complete the election process,” Union President Gregory Junemann said.

GAO said the parties also have reached an agreement in principle that will lead to withdrawal of an unfair labor practice complaint issued in June against GAO by the union.

On May 8 IFPTE filed a petition seeking to form a union after more than half of GAO’s 1,500 analysts signed cards requesting a vote for unionization.

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

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