The war between the SEC and its employees who want a union has become downright nasty.
The SEC has appealed a Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) ruling that supported agency employees' efforts to unionize nationwide. SEC employees are attempting to join the National Treasury Employees Union. But the agency wants its 1,800 employees split into 11 separate bargaining units.
The FLRA has until May 6 to accept or reject the SEC's appeal.
"Ninety-five percent of appeals are rejected by the FLRA, and I doubt this one will be ... accepted," says Michael Clampitt, an attorney and CPA in the SEC's corporate finance division who is leading the union drive.
An SEC spokesperson says, "We felt that since the regions have different interests and needs, and different management structures, that it would be more appropriate to have different bargaining units."
On Jan. 7, the FLRA rejected the SEC's argument and ordered a union election within 60 days. The SEC appealed the ruling after 59 days.
At a Feb. 8 rally outside the SEC's Washington headquarters, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelly called the SEC's tactic "unconscionable." Meanwhile, protestors erected a huge ballot box wrapped in chains while waving signs, "Levitt, Let Us Vote."
The agency spokesperson defends the SEC's actions. "We've fully subscribed to all laws in terms of the process and the timing of it."
If the FLRA rejects the SEC's appeal, employees will immediately hold an election, Clampitt says. If the FLRA accepts the appeal, it will take several months to review the decision and determine whether a hearing should be scheduled.