New York Times Wrong About EPA Unions

EPA has five different unions, all with its own leadership, something that the New York Times incorrectly overlooked in a recent story. The unions at EPA include the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), the Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC), and the National Association of Independent Labor (NAIL). Each of these five unions is organized differently, some with "chapters" and some with "locals."  The authority of chapters and locals varies according to the constitution and bylaws of each union.

NTEU Chapter 280 represents "professionals" at EPA headquarters. Put another way, we represent all people who have a job that requires positive education. If your job requires that you have a degree, you're in the NTEU Chapter 280 bargaining unit, although not a member unless you join. If your job does not require a degree, then at headquarters you are in the AFGE Local 3331 bargaining unit, even if you have a degree. The test is whether or not your degree is required by your job. At EPA headquarters, therefore, there are two unions:  NTEU Chapter 280 and AFGE Local 3331.

The NY Times story incorrectly reported that the AFGE Council President represented all EPA employees. This is wrong.  Mr. John O’Grady, a biochemist in EPA's Region 5 office and President of the AFGE Council at EPA, only represents AFGE bargaining unit employees. The Times story overlooked all the employees represented by NTEU, NAIL, NAGE, and ESC. At headquarters, NTEU Chapter 280 represents approximately 1700 professionals. Nationwide, NTEU represents even more.

We expect more from the NY Times. We hope the Times runs a correction of this error.