Majority of Employees Responsible for Internal Operations at the GAO Vote Yes to Form a Union
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 8, 2012, professional support specialists responsible for maintaining the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) internal operations at the agency’s Washington headquarters and field offices voted overwhelmingly to form a union. The vote was 86% in favor of partnering with their analyst colleagues’ union, the GAO Employees Organization, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 1921. The GAO Personnel Appeals Board conducted the vote.
This win will give the professional support specialists a legal voice at the table and the ability to collaborate with their analyst colleagues to ensure that GAO remains a model agency. GAO, often referred to as the “Congressional Watchdog,” is an independent, nonpartisan Congressional agency responsible for assisting the Congress in its oversight of the federal government, including investigating how it spends taxpayer dollars.
“This successful vote will allow us to work with management to improve working conditions for APSS staff at GAO, thereby improving operations, saving money, and retaining an engaged and professional work force.” said Lorene Sarne, an educator within GAO’s Learning Center. The professional support specialists at GAO include accountants, educators, executive assistants, human capital specialists, information technology specialists, librarians, paralegals, visual artists, and other professional staff. “This vote was a proud moment, a long time coming,” stated Jena Sinkfield, a visual communications artist.
The GAO Employees Organization, IFPTE Local 1921, was formed in 2007 and currently represents nearly 2000 Analysts and other professionals, including now the professional support specialists.
“We are honored that our colleagues, the professional support specialists, have chosen to join us in solidarity in our continued efforts to collaborate with management on improving GAO for all employees,” said Ronald La Due Lake, President of the GAO Employees Organization, IFPTE Local 1921. “Our situation has changed dramatically since analysts and specialists voted to form a union in 2007. We have worked hard and demonstrated our commitment to the agency, assuring that employees are at the table in a constructive and substantive way.”