President's Perspective, November 2007: With the commencement of a new fiscal year at the SEC, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon Chapter 293’s accomplishments over the past year, which has been a good one for the union and the SEC employees it represents.
Prior to taking office a year ago, the current chapter officers pledged to make specific changes on three fronts in order to establish a solid foundation for the union’s continuing success at the SEC – advocacy for your rights and communications with management, the chapter’s communications with employees, and membership. I am pleased to report that we have made great strides in all three of these areas.
First, during the past year, we have effectively advocated for employee rights while working to improve upon the union’s communications with SEC management. We believe that our approach is paying dividends. Indeed, in addition to resolving numerous problems for individuals at the agency, the union also has made significant progress on a number of broader national issues, including:
- Negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with substantial enhancements and improvements;
- Winning a national merit pay arbitration;
- Winning a national arbitration regarding the exclusion of PLUS loans from the 2005 Student Loan Repayment Program, and negotiating a resolution of this issue for both 2005 and 2006;
- Achieving an agreement that permits all employees in 31-step grades to progress to the top of the pay range for their grade without being capped at step 27; and
- Winning higher overtime rates for paralegals.
While we are proud of these accomplishments and others, we are also continuing to work on a host of other issues, including achieving a final resolution of the problems with the merit pay system and obtaining an increase in the agency’s matching contributions to employee retirement accounts.
We also have made substantial improvements to chapter communications and the flow of information about the union’s work at the agency. Chapter 293 now regularly publishes an informative chapter newsletter, Chapter 293 Works. We have also launched a highly successful new website with a vast array of content about issues affecting SEC employees, including up to date news, employee resources, and information about legislative representation and benefits. Usage of this website by SEC employees has steadily grown – in the last two months alone we have received over 12,000 site visits (the site is best viewed on Explorer at 1280 x 1024). In addition, we have increased the availability of the chapter’s leadership, both to members and to the leaders who represent them across the country, to respond to questions and concerns.
Finally, union membership at the SEC also has increased substantially over the course of the past year. We expect this trend to continue as more and more nonmembers come to understand that when the union’s numbers rise it becomes a stronger and more effective advocate for their interests, whether we are negotiating with management or lobbying for increased rights and benefits on Capitol Hill.
Having recently completed my first year as President of NTEU Chapter 293, I would like to thank all of you for affording me the opportunity to serve you in this capacity. In the coming year, Chapter 293's leadership team intends to build upon our accomplishments. I hope that you will continue to support our efforts.
by Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman