With Liberty and Justice for All

NTEU Monday Minute for the Week of August 24, 2015: With Liberty and Justice for All

A week ago, NTEU held its national convention. Although it turned out to be a great deal of work, the convention also provided an excellent opportunity to talk with other Chapter leaders about their successes and challenges as Chapter leaders, to address internal union business, and to talk about the future of NTEU.

In that vein, we voted in our new National leadership. Colleen Kelley retired after 16 years as NTEU’s President. Tony Reardon who has worked tirelessly for NTEU and was Colleen Kelley’s Executive Vice President for the last couple years, was elected as our new President. Jim Bailey who, as early as his internship in law school when he sought out an opportunity to work for NTEU, was elected as our new Executive Vice President. Both gentlemen won by a landslide and NTEU Chapter 208 could not be happier with this outcome. Congratulations, Tony and Jim! You have a lot of work to do on our behalf. We are here to work with you. Times are NOT good for federal employees!

The first day’s session began with the presentation of the colors and our opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance. As we all know, the pledge ends with the words “And Liberty and Justice for all.”  Many people have said many things about what this phrase means, but at that moment, I believe many of us were struck by how important NTEU’s role is – both on the Hill and in our agencies – in support of federal employees – fighting for liberty and justice.

Over the last several years, some members of Congress have made multiple attempts through proposed legislation to turn the clock back for federal employees – to reduce our current benefits, to reclassify social security (which all working people contribute to from every paycheck) as an “entitlement,” and to drain money from our retirements – all while vilifying federal employees and the work that we do for our nation. NTEU National lobbies members of Congress on the issues and challenges that all federal employees face.

Every time that the cost of living goes up while our salaries remain stagnant, when the mission that we are committed to is marginalized, when even our identities and personal information is up for grabs, we lose a little more of our liberty and justice becomes more distant.

Here at the NRC, NTEU Chapter 208 continues to emphasize the important role and impact (for better or worse) that first line supervisors have on employees – both their ability to engage their staff in the agency’s mission and their positive or negative effect on employee morale. Yet, we continue to have bad first line supervisors and even when this comes to management’s attention, these individuals are not removed.

Every time an employee comes into the union office so emotionally beaten up by their supervisor that they are physically ill or an employee must demonstrate that they are part of a “protected class” in order to invoke the agency’s anti-harassment policy, we lose a little more of our liberty and justice becomes more distant.

These are hard times for federal employees. The NRC values that we should espouse are more important today than they ever have been.  When integrity is missing, for example, Justice can be interpreted as “Just Us” – that is, our working relationships, practices and decisions are self-serving and do not reflect trustworthy, reliable, ethical and unbiased behavior.

Whether striving to improve the working conditions of all federal employees or of our own NRC employees, NTEU is committed to working towards a day when we can proudly acclaim that “Liberty and Justice for all” is, indeed, a realty.

NTEU would like to hear from you. Please stop by the Union office at O 1G22 or send us an email to nteu@nrc.gov.

In Case You Missed It:  On September 8, 2015, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in 3WFN Rooms 1C03-05, HEPAC is sponsoring a Professional Development Seminar entitled: Individual Development Plan Workshop. The seminar will be an interactive workshop on developing Individual Development Plans (IDPs). Participants will learn more about the NRC tools to develop and maintain an IDP. Additionally, participants should bring their own IDPs to get feedback from their coworkers and management. Therefore, you are highly encouraged to attend in person!  If you cannot attend in person, please consider registering to attend remotely using the following “GoToWebinar” link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6886100955910668033.For more information on this seminar, please e-mail or call Huda Akhavannik, 301-415-5253, or Basia Sall, 301-287-0582.

Someone Said:  “In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” — Albert Einstein, German born American Physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity; Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921


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