AFGE as the union that exists for support staff at SSA is probably the next public union that deserves a look to determine viability. My experience with AFGE as a dues paying member at SSA who is making it clear union contracts are ignored makes it appear the union is just a front for employee rights. I will share the details once this gets past my own screen. It seems to be a well kept secret by SSA and by AFGE.
Two EEO cases are pending at court and an MSPB case that was bounced there after EEOC and will go back to EEOC likely are absolutely devastating to try to pursue alone as I do despite AFGE dues paying membership while all the discrimination and retaliation ocurred. What happened to me at Social Security’s Office of Disability, Adjudication and Review (“ODAR”) San Diego should never happen to a union member anywhere who does or doesn’t pay. I will never understand or be able to reconcile the local preident-representative’s neglect that was so bad I have to think he served nobody’s purposes finally but management’s. Somehow they knew when to assault me with a “demand for investigation next day with-or-without a rep”. It occurred usually within a couple days of filing an EEO or other complaint, sometimes the very next day and it always seemed to be when this rep was out of the office. He never checked e-mail or left any backup person and insisted he be notified to represent or to assign another member to represent: an impossible situation as he couldn’t be reached or chose not to be. I was bullied and abused by the most sadistic management ever I am certain. After working for four other federal workplaces I am convinced ODAR San Diego was not bound by any AFGE contract or other guide and they made it known that no such contract would or could restrain them.
I am a progressive Democrat who recently supported a candidate locally at the phone bank and going door to door and will do so again and have done so for the president. It is VERY hard to be a progressive Democrat, support all that it means and know how harmful union membership can be.
You cannot imagine how hard I had to fight ALONE filing FLRA complaints, two of which had merit, EEO complaints that will probably torture me until it they destroy me and this MSPB finally for constructive discharge after a proposal to remove written five months after minor or no incidents “overheard talking in an unpleasant tone of voice” and some very desperate phone calls from home when I had to take annual leave to avoid a “next-day investigation, with-or-without a rep . . . . no you can’t record it”. Then I was accused of making a threat (to myself with nobody around but the chief judge who was the subject of a unanimous petition to remove that was written about in the S.D. Union Tribune by Greg Moran on 7/20/09.. I was working unprotected among a pack of wolves, bitter and defensive about any kind of oversight. So much abuse was permitted by the AFGE rep who simply was afraid or unwilling or unable to stand up to that management. Or a reason that is worse existed. I will never, ever be able to accept what was done to me and the position I am in now, trying to fight on my own against an agency that has endless resources at their fingertips to defend all wrongdoing forever. Social Security Administration is probably the largest federal agency outside of defense and I can assure you, from what I saw at one of their hearing offices between 1997 and 2011 serious oversight (or any oversight please) must be applied to protect claimants who are disabled and/or elderly and have little voices easily ignored. I was prevented from working by management allowed to spend unlimited time discussing tone of voice and the manner in which they wished to be treated. None of this involved the public with whom they were unconcerned!
If union is needed or of any use it is in such a place! This rep had an assistant send me an e-mail that said “we’ll file on behave(sic) for you”. Then weeks late he himself wrote “I’m not filing anything on behave(sic) of you”. I assume he is no longer president and don’t understand how he ever was. I also don’t understand why the district leader for that local would not allow me to bring my response I was trying to make to an adverse action to his office for review. It is and was cruel and horrible. It was bad enough to have a rep in another state, never available. But the district leader wouldn’t even accommodate me in any way and was only 40 miles away; his office being in my county, my state!.
I was harmed perhaps more by AFGE because perhaps if I’d ever believed there was actually a contract that was upheld by union individuals to protect me. If I new I was on my own, I’d have never objected to anything. As it was, all I got was a lie and a chance to pay dues and, perhaps, I was part of a package deal that was made with ODAR management or Region 9 SSA for the benefit of other members or a member or perhaps SSA’s efforts to keep the San Diego chief judge in place despite the unanimous petition of all 8 judges he supervised who wanted to remove him. I can only look at the reasons as something like that, equally as corrupt and cruel as management.
It is of course not of any interest to AFGE now that I don’t pay dues; it was not concern to AFGE when I did pay dues. All I can do is fight on my own and share this knowledge of how ineffective a union is in government workplaces that don’t respect unions. I can see what is happening in Wisconsin if AFGE is typical in the way it dumps its members. I await discussions to share this. It makes me sad as a Democrat to view unions as carpetbaggers.