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Union president does all the talking

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:

It's not unusual for an agency or an organization to have a primary spokesperson. But the National Treasury Employees Union apparently is so intent on reserving that role for its president, Colleen M. Kelley, that even when other people speak for the union they are not acknowledged by the organization.

On Friday, for example, NTEU issued a release that quoted remarks given by Barbara Atkin, its deputy general counsel, at an Office of Personnel Management meeting on hiring reform. But was Atkin named in the release? No way. She was invisible as the release attributed her remarks to the organization as a whole:

“Reforms to the competitive hiring process will accomplish little if agencies are permitted to continue to avoid competitive hiring by misusing excepted service hiring authority, particularly the FCIP [Federal Career Intern Program],” NTEU said during remarks at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) event. “The FCIP is a perfect example of hiring gone awry,” NTEU added.

Similarly, a 12-paragraph press release on May 20 reports what "NTEU told a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee ," without ever saying it was the union's (apparently invisible) legislative director, Maureen Gilman, who actually delivered the remarks.

The day before, a NTEU release about its testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on federal workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia, mentioned Kelley in the third paragraph, leaving the impression that she was the one who testified. Not so. Again Gilman did the duty, but didn't get the credit.

NTEU had no comment, by anyone, on this.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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To those in federal labor relations, NTEU has always been known as a "top-down" organization with little input from the members and even the officers of its varius chapters. Whatever the national office says is treated as gospel and, apparently, its President, Coleen Kelly, is a god.

Posted by: jamesarmet | July 1, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

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