Except for rare, isolated and very nuanced reasons, unions representing federal and postal workers have endorsed Democratic candidates for president since the Kennedy administration.
Two union leaders — the presidents of the AFGE and the NALC — publicly endorsed President Richard Nixon for reelection in 1972. But they did so as “private” citizens, not on behalf of their unions.
The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization endorsed candidate Ronald Reagan over incumbent Jimmy Carter. Shortly after the election, the controllers went on strike. Reagan issued a back-to-work-or- you’re-fired order. We know how that worked out for all parties.
Although many federal civil servants are represented by unions in formal agreements with their agencies, the majority of government workers (outside of the Postal Service) are not dues-paying members of any union.
So are the unions too cozy with Democratic politicians? By regularly endorsing candidates of one party, election after election, has this created a climate where one party takes them for granted and the other writes them off? Many feds — union members and nonmembers — have strong opinions on the subject.
A column here last week titled, “Are You Sleeping With The Frenemy,” drew lots of comment. And we love that. Some folks had constructive ideas. Some looked at the history of feds’ relationships with presidents of both parties.
The debate was mostly civil, but sometimes sharp. Check out the comments section.
One reader said he thought the federal and postal union leaders were much more partisan than many, if not most, of their members.
Another said Republicans — for a long time now — either just don’t understand or like government workers. Others agreed. A few said it wasn’t always like that and feds (and their leaders) need to try to figure out why that is.
“…Federal union leadership’s behavior with Democratic presidents is one of the reasons why … in my humble opinion, civil servants are reluctant to join the unions,” said one.
Another said people who refuse to join unions and pay dues “are free-riders who take the benefits that unions win for them but don’t carry the freight.”
The phrase “to cry crocodiles” derives from the fact that crocodiles actually shed tears when they eat. But it’s not because crocs actually feel remorse for devouring their meals (whatever they may be). Zoologists hypothesize that that the tears result from all the hissing and huffing crocodiles make while eating, which forces air through their sinuses and tear ducts.
Nominations now open for 2014 Causey Awards Federal News Radio’s 5th Annual Causey Awards seek to recognize and honor the good works of people who challenged the status quo and changed, for the better, human capital management. Nominate someone today for his or her outstanding achievements and important human capital/human resources contributions. While we’re looking for people who made a difference in the HR world, they don’t necessarily have to work in an HR role. In the past, we’ve honored CIOs, a chief of staff, and an inspector general, in addition to human resources professionals, all for their contributions in the HR arena.
Now or Never: Ideas to Save the Failing Budget Process In the 16 years since the House, the Senate and the President have failed to agree on a set of bills to fund the government for an entire fiscal year, hope for an efficient process has withered. Since 1997, over 90 different CRs have been passed in order to fund agencies. Federal News Radio believes there is a better way to avoid this ongoing federal budget acrimony. Our special report, “Now or Never: Ideas To Save the Failing Budget Process,” highlights best practices, real-life successes and research that could save time, money and sanity in federal budgeting, and give agencies and contractors the stability needed to help meet the missions of the government.
Feds should not shoulder the burden of deficit reduction Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) says federal employees have already contributed more than $130 billion toward lowering our deficit through pay freezes and through increases in the retirement contributions and that Congress can’t keep whacking benefits from future workers.