The Visionary Leadership Award
The Chapter 335 Visionary Leadership Award recognizes a distinguished union member dedicating significant time and effort to protect colleagues and secure a safe, equitable and healthy workplace while fulfilling the mission and vision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The recipient shows consistent and exceptional contributions throughout the year and has enhanced the lives of CFPB bargaining unit employees.
The award was created to honor a Chapter 335 leader whose thoughtful and effective leadership resulted in a significant and beneficial impact to the bargaining unit employees of the CFPB. The recipient shows consistent and exceptional contributions that have enhanced the workplace and lives of CFPB employees and their families by protecting workers’ rights and securing important workplace initiatives including competitive pay and promotion, safety and well-being, and work life balance.
The 2015 inaugural recipient, Ben Konop, impacted the Bureau on many levels serving as the Executive Vice President of NTEU’s Chapter 335 and a member of the Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations Team. His significant contributions influenced the direction of the Chapter and secured critical articles bargained and ratified in the Bureau’s first Collective Bargaining Agreement. Ben’s compassion to help others in need was prevalent in the many grievances, arbitrations, information requests and Unfair Labor Practice claims for which he provided tireless representation. Ben’s efforts helped to resolve important, Bureau-wide issues in a timely and effective manner. Ben fostered and promoted transparency in union leadership and fought to update Chapter By-laws, resulting in the return of a democratically run Chapter. Ben recruited more new Chapter 335 members than any other employee. Ben rendered distinguished, sustained service to Chapter 335, resulting in a far-reaching impact that will benefit CFPB Bargaining unit employees for years to come. Thus, by a unanimous vote of the Chapter 335 Board of Directors, we proudly selected our esteemed colleague, Ben Konop, as our first recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award.
It’s an honor to receive this award, and I hope in the years going forward there will be many more winners in our Chapter far more deserving than me. Thanks to Gail for being a true friend to me, and a friend of all the workers at the CFPB. We are lucky as a Chapter to have a strong, smart, hard-working board and group of stewards who, most importantly, have their hearts in the right place.
Unions are vital to our society and cannot succeed unless members are willing to stand up to management, when need be, and assert our hard-won rights. Remember that when it comes to matters that are bargained upon, we come to the table with management as equals not subordinates. Don’t be afraid to exercise your rights and stand up for your colleagues. And don’t forget that our issues are not just confined to the CFPB, but that we should be mindful and willing to lend a hand to other workers struggling to be heard in situations far more difficult than ours, like at Wal-Mart and McDonalds, for example. Finally, unions not only stand for their worker’s rights, but human rights too, and the equality of all citizens. As Martin Luther King wrote from the Birmingham Jail, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I think those words are the best mission statement a union can have.
- Ben Konop, 2015 Visionary Leadership Award Recipient