Union ends representation fight at SSA

September 30, 1992|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

A union battle over the representation of 55,000 workers at the Social Security Administration ended yesterday, at least temporarily, with the retreat of the challenger.

Robert M. Tobias, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), said he had suspended his five-year battle with the American Federation of Government Employees, which has represented workers at the Social Security Administration since 1979.

The SSA headquarters in Woodlawn, with more than 12,000 employees, had been the site of shouting and occasional shoving matches in the union-vs.-union battle.

At one point, NTEU organizers were hustled off the campus-like grounds by security officers. And in August, members of the two unions called each other names and snatched fliers from the hands of workers as NTEU organizers tried to collect signatures for the planned election.

But all that ended as of yesterday.

Although Mr. Tobias had collected more than enough signatures to call for an election, "I determined we did not have the momentum necessary to win," he said.

After spending $2.6 million on organizers, brochures and lunches for SSA workers, Mr. Tobias said he would have needed more time to persuade workers to join his union. But that doesn't mean the workers were happy with their current union, he said. "We were fighting apathy," Mr. Tobias said.

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