What is a union?

working togetherA union is a collection of employees who agree to speak with a single voice. They bargain together with managment on working conditions, pay, time off, you name it. This is where the term collective bargaining comes from. We negotiate as a unit. That gives us more power. In other words, we are more likely to be heard if we speak together on one issue, than if only one or two of us speak up.

Once we come to an agreement with management, it also means we can protect one another from violations of that collective bargaining agreement, make sure that disciplinary actions are handled fairly, and suggest changes that would make us more efficient. That's good for consumers, taxpayers and the Bureau. And it's good for you.


I registered and activated my account, why can't I log in?

All new registrations must be manually checked against our active membership list. This can take a few minutes to a few days depending on when you signed up. If it has been more than a week and you are still unable to sign up:

  • Check with your steward. Your information may not have made it into our records and we will need to follow up.
  • Did you use a space in your user name? By default, spaces are replaced by hyphens on the WordPress platform. There's nothing we can do about it. You can register a different user name, or replace spaces with hyphens in the user name you registered.
  • You did not receive an activation email. All registrations will be followed by an activation email. You will be asked to click a link to activate the account. If you did not receive this email, use the contact form to notify the site administrator.
  • Be sure you are using the correct password. You can request your password on the log in page, or register a new user name.

How do I become a member of the union?

If you are an eligible employee of the CFPB, you can become a member of NTEU Chapter 335 by completing this form (PDF) and giving it to the steward assigned to your region or work area. You can find the email and contact information for your steward in the CFPB employee directory.


If I am a member of the union, am I automatically registered for the website?

No. Registration is not automatic. But only dues paying members of the union can get access to the members-only features of the website. Once you register, you will receive an activation email. Your membership will be verified and your members-only access will be turned on. Please register using your CFPB email address so we can confirm your membership more quickly.


Why should I join the union?

There are a lot of reasons to join the union, and your reasons may be different from your co-workers. That's fine. Some people want a bigger say in the policies and work rules they have to follow. Others may feel they've been treated unfairly. And others may want to help make their workplace more efficient and help shape the Bureau's future. These are all good reasons.

CFPB employees who join the union now will also have the chance to shape this new chapter. Voting for representation is only the first step in forming a union. The next milestone will be negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, or "contract," with the Bureau's management.

  • Only members will get to decide what is included in our collective bargaining agreement. It will establish guidelines on nearly every aspect of our work-life experience, including work hours, improving processes and procedures, and performance management.
  • Only members can approve or vote down the contract. Once a contract is negotiated, it is voted on by the members.
  • Everyone – members and nonmembers alike – must abide by the terms of the contract. Once contracts are ratified, they are typically in place for three to five years.

You can stand on the sidelines and take what you get or you can get involved and help shape your future, the Bureau’s future, and your chapter’s future.


I like my manager. So why should I join?

Being in the union isn't about disliking your manager, or the upper management of the Bureau. If you get along with your manager, great. But you should still consider joining the union for a couple of reasons. First, not all managers are equally experienced. Some are better at working with people than others. And, even though you like your supervisor today, the Bureau is a dynamic, fast-moving place. You could have a different manager a year from now. Wouldn't you rather have the protections in place to help you keep the policies and practices you enjoy? That's how your union can help. We can help negotiate policies and protect common practices. We've got your back. Plus, a union can help with matters and concerns that affect us all, like travel pay, compensation, work space and overcrowding, promotions, term employment. There are a lot of issues that could affect you that are out of your manager's control.


I didn't vote in the union election, can I still join the chapter?

Absolutely. Even if you voted “no” or didn’t vote at all, you can still become a member of Chapter 335.


How much are dues?

Dues will range from about $12 to $24 per pay period, depending on your pay band. You can use this Excel worksheet to calculate your exact dues amount. Enter your annual salary in the appropriate pay band cell and press the return key to see how much your dues will be each pay period.

At most, it breaks down to about $2.40 per work day – about the cost of a cup of coffee.

Dues fund our chapter’s budget. This budget pays for everything from administrative costs, to social events, to training for your stewards and officers so they can represent you better. Dues also help fund NTEU labor law attorneys and negotiators to fight for stronger contracts, and help if you’re ever treated unfairly or need to file a grievance or other proceeding.

Dues also help pay for legislative coordinators and lobbyists that promote your interests as a federal employee on the Hill. No dues money goes to political campaigns.

How much dues will be, and how they will be spent, are included in the bylaws and disclosed to the members.


What’s a steward?

Your steward is part customer service rep and part advocate. If you have a question, need more information about the union, or about a situation on the job, ask your steward. Regardless of the issue, your steward will work on the union member's behalf to find the right answers or resolve the problem. That could take many forms, from listening and working with you one-on-one, to an informal conversation with a supervisor, or a formal grievance. Want to know more? Talk to your steward.


Are union officers or stewards paid?

No. Union officers and stewards are not paid; they are volunteers. They put in extra hours, meet with colleagues, resolve problems, and negotiate with management -- for free. They also receive hours of training to learn the details of the collective bargaining agreement and how to enforce it through informal discussions with management and supervisors, or the more formal grievance process. They learn how to represent you, and to be there when you need help.


What’s a grievance?

A grievance is a formal problem resolution process between the union and the CFPB. Not all issues need to be taken to this level. Many can be handled informally. But others may require changes in policy or procedures.

If a resolution cannot be reached between the CFPB and union, the grievance can go to arbitration where an independent third party will make a binding decision on the matter. If a matter goes to arbitration you would be represented by a union attorney.


What's a bargaining unit?

A bargaining unit consists of all employees eligible to join the union, whether they are members of the union or not. Everyone in the bargaining unit will be covered by the collective bargaining agreement that will soon be negotiated between local chapter representatives and the CFPB. If you sit on the sidelines now, you won’t get a say about what’s in that contract.


I have a question, what should I do?

Talk to your steward if you have an issue that requires immediate attention. You can also use the contact us form to submit questions. Talking to your steward, or using the contact us form will keep your information confidential. If you have questions that you don't mind sharing, you can use the reply box below or post questions -- and answers -- in our members-only groups. You must be a dues paying member of Chapter 335 to participate in the groups and to see other members-only content on the website.



One comment on “FAQs
  1. Kevin A. Williams says:

    Do we have a right to have Union representation during a performance review?

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