OMB employees take a vote on unionization

Wednesday - 10/26/2011, 5:21pm EDT

By Jolie Lee

Office of Management and Budget employees are voting today and Nov. 1 on whether or not they want to be represented by the American Federal of Government Employees union.

Of OMB's 389 employees, 243 are eligible for vote, said AFGE spokesman Tim Kauffman.

The bargaining unit includes both professional and non-professional employees, such as administrative staff, program examiners, policy analysts and Budget Review Division staff, Kauffman said in an email to Federal News Radio.

Kauffman said employees approached AFGE earlier this year about unionizing. He said the terms of the election were decided by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

"For far too long, management has taken OMB staff for granted. Recent OPM human capital surveys show that our job satisfaction and satisfaction with our leadership (at all levels) needs to be vastly improved," according to the website www.omb-union.org, which was set up by AFGE.

Among the demands listed on the website are:

  • A comp time policy that is "fairly used by branch chiefs"
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Improved office space
  • Reduction of turnover

In the 2010 Best Places to Work survey by the Partnership for Public Service, OMB ranked 27 out of 30 agencies for work-life balance. The agency also ranked low in the categories "family friendly culture and benefits" and "training and development."

In an emailed statement to Federal News Radio, Kenneth Baer, communications director at OMB, said, "The administration is a strong supporter of the right of workers to organize. It is up to the people working at any bargaining unit to decide if they want to join a union or not."

Ruben Gomez contributed to this story.