Office of Management and Budget Employees to Push to Unionize

By Cullen Dirner

May 13, 2011 4:03pm

As soon as today employees of the Office of Management and Budget will file a petition to unionize, ABC News has learned.

Peter Winch, deputy director of field services and education for the American Federation of Government Employees confirmed to ABC News that his organization, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, has been meeting with employees of the OMB in the past few months to discuss their work conditions and desire to have more say over the conditions of their employment.

Enough employees – more than 30% — are interested for a union to be formed, he said. The union would be for mid- and lower-level employees.

Winch said that while the employees generally like their work at OMB, even with long hours and working on weekends, “there have been reorganizations they would have liked to have had more voice over.”

The next step will be for the employees to file a petition for an election with the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s Washington DC regional office. That filing could come as soon as today though the move could come on Monday.

Winch expressed concern that ABC News would report the story – first learned from other sources – before the union could officially inform OMB management.

The federal government is required to stay neutral on any petition for its employees to join a union.

Asked for comment, Kenneth Baer, OMB communications director, told ABC News that the Obama administration “is a strong supporter of the right of workers to organize. It is up to the people working at any bargaining unit to decide if they want to join a union or not. Whatever the decision of these employees may be, we are committed to working together to serve the President and the American people.”

-Jake Tapper and Rick Klein

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