Association for  Union Democracy
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


Centereach, NY


AFGE official charges collusion

by Carl Biers

Activists from a number of federal sector unions report a similar, troubling scenario: union representatives--elected and appointed--avoid confronting management over contract violations; in exchange, management permits them unregulated and uncontested "official time." The system works well for both parties. Management gets labor peace and free reign over the workplace, cooperative union officials get paid by the government to do pretty much whatever they want, and good aggressive union representatives get a hard time. The victims, of course, are the workers whom the union is supposed to represent.
The problem, which exists in one form or another throughout the labor movement, is compounded in the federal sector where members are not required to join the union or pay dues. Few non-postal locals boast a membership above a third of those eligible. Occasionally, however, a reform-minded activist, or just a member in need of decent representation, runs up against this system.
Joe Palazzolo, a regional vice president of American Federation of Government Employees Council 236 of the