Usually, when an organization wants to release news without really making it news, it will do so on Friday evening. So maybe it’s not surprising that it wasn’t until late Friday that a branch of the AFL-CIO confirmed that the Office of Management and Budget — the White House office in charge of number-crunching — could soon unionize.
ABC’s Jake Tapper reports:
Peter Winch, deputy director of field services and education for the American Federation of Government Employees confirmed to ABC News that his organization, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, has been meeting with employees of the OMB in the past few months to discuss their work conditions and desire to have more say over the conditions of their employment.
Enough employees – more than 30% — are interested for a union to be formed, he said. The union would be for mid- and lower-level employees.
Winch said that while the employees generally like their work at OMB, even with long hours and working on weekends, “there have been reorganizations they would have liked to have had more voice over.”
The next step will be for the employees to file a petition for an election with the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s Washington DC regional office. That filing could come as soon as today though the move could come on Monday.
And while the federal government is supposed to stay neutral about such moves, the administration seems quite tickled at the news.
Kenneth Baer, OMB communications director, told ABC the Obama 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. Whatever the decision of these employees may be, we are committed to working together to serve the President and the American people.”
Over at National Review, Andrew Stiles isn’t convinced neutrality is a top priority. He writes: “Will be interesting to see whether the White House takes being ‘required to stay neutral’ as seriously as Senate Democrats do in terms of their being ‘required to produce a budget.'”
According to CNN, the union (AFGE) already represents 600,000 federal and D.C. government workers. It is currently in the running to represent TSA employees who were recently granted permission to unionize.