Article from the NTEU Bulletin: When NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman visits the district office of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), he knows to expect a substantive discussion about key workplace issues and NTEU legislative priorities.
"Barney Frank is the most knowledgeable person on Capitol Hill in terms of understanding the ins and outs of the financial services industry and the issues that concern the financial regulatory workforce,” said Gilman. “The depth of understanding that Frank possesses makes our discussions go very smoothly.”
Gilman said the level of comfort that he has with Rep. Frank is due to the consistent outreach he and others maintain with the longtime lawmaker and members of his staff.
Gilman, who is based in Boston, took advantage of the spring congressional recess to meet with Rep. Frank and talk about ongoing workplace issues at the SEC, as well as many of the union’s priority issues for 2011, including the ongoing impact of financial reform legislation on NTEU-represented agencies and agency funding for fiscal year 2012. Rep. Frank is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and an author of the Wall Street reform law that Congress approved last year.
At the 2011 Legislative Conference in March, President Colleen M. Kelley called for members to inform lawmakers about the impact inadequate agency funding, budget cuts and proposed shutdowns could have on the American public. That information campaign should continue year-round, she said, as lawmakers debate fiscal 2012 appropriations and other NTEU priority issues like federal pay, health care and retirement issues in the coming weeks and months.
“Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. Lawmakers need to know that federal employees bring an inherent value to the government and to American society and they are proud of the work they do,” President Kelley said.
Gilman agreed, saying that too many members of Congress continue to subscribe to false stereotypes of federal workers as overpaid and underworked.
Gilman said that local chapter leaders will continue their congressional outreach efforts over the summer and fall. Several members of NTEU-represented financial regulatory agencies in the Boston area already have established quality working relationships with other members of the local congressional delegation, including Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), as well as Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). Reps. Capuano and Lynch both sit on the House Financial Services Committee with Rep. Frank. Sen. Reed is a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
“These lawmakers have a great deal of power and influence over our agencies and their respective missions,” Gilman said. “Having a strong, fruitful relationship with them makes it a lot easier for us to do our jobs for the American people.”