GAO analysts vote for union representation

By a wide margin, analysts at the Government Accountability Office voted Sept. 19 to be represented by a labor union. The vote was 897 to 445 in favor of representation by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. About 1,813 GAO employees were eligible to vote in the election.

Jacqueline Harpp, a senior analyst at GAO and one of four official union observers during the vote count, said employees who supported the union were ecstatic about the results.

“Our slogan for this campaign was ‘band together,’ and that’s exactly what we did,” she said. “Over the past 18 months, we came together regardless of pay band, years of service and whether we worked in D.C. or the field. This vote reflects that spirit of unity.”

In a statement, Comptroller General David Walker, head of GAO, thanked the employees who took the time to vote and said GAO managers will bargain in good faith.

Employees will next elect a council, write a constitution, determine bargaining priorities and negotiate a first contract with GAO managers.

Union President Gregory Junemann said the national union’s involvement in the employees’ next steps will likely be limited. “The analysts at GAO are experts at creating efficient organizations,” he said. “You can bet that their bargaining surveys and their research will be data-driven.”

Last May, the federation filed a petition to form a union after more than half of GAO’s analysts signed cards endorsing a vote on unionization. In voting to support the election, GAO analysts voiced concerns about issues relating to the agency’s two-year-old pay-for-performance system.

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