Why I Joined NWSEO and feature stories on members we serve

Celebrating Black History Month
with Evan B. Forde

February is Black History Month; in celebration we sat down to talk with oceanographer and Miami native, Evan B. Forde. In 1973,  Forde began his career at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and in 1979 he became the first African American scientist to participate in research dives aboard a deep-sea submersible. During his career Forde has conducted research across various oceanographic and meteorological disciplines and remains one of the few African American oceanographers in the U.S.

Full article: https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/news/black-history-month/

Member Testimonials

Trust your NWSEO Officers, Support Staff, General Counsel and Collective Bargaining Agreement. They always have your collective best interests in mind, and work hard (sometimes hours on their own time without compensation) to ensure that.

Barry Lambert, State College, PA

Even if you like management NOW, there is zero guarantee that management will always be a benign partner. You ALWAYS need an organization like NWSEO, looking out for the interests of our incredible work force.

Associate Member Dr. Huug Van den Dool

I joined initially to stop a local manager from breaking the law and violating the CBA. After seeing what NWSEO did, I remained in to support the national effort to further the NWS mission and purpose and hold national leaders accountable.

Brian Boyd, LKN Elko, NV

I have remained an NWSEO member for 21 years because they fight for the field and the mission. They protect mission-critical jobs and work to ensure changes are well-vetted so they don't negatively affect operations.

Shannon White, AWIPS Instructor HQ Region

NWSEO gives us a voice at the Congressional level, something that we cannot have through our chain of command.

Jami Boettcher, Warning Decision Training Division, HQ Region

"The union has become an effective tool to improve NWS operations and efficiency."
I joined NWSEO when I began working for the NWS. My motivation for joining was to be part of a collective that protects the organization's members. But NWSEO is so much more than a union to protect NWS workers. Since NWS employees in the field often know the best way to get the job done, NWSEO is an advocate and voice for these workers. The union has become an effective tool to improve NWS operations and efficiency. However, NWSEO needs more members in order to be the most positive influence the union can be. That's why I urge all eligible NWS employees to join NWSEO.

Kevin Crupi, Steward, Meteorologist, WFO Marquette MI

I joined NWSEO when my unit was going through a reorganization and downsizing process. At the time, there was no NWSEO presence in our work group, and no one to advocate for the rights of those affected. A team of well-meaning colleagues worked with management to make a plan, but everyone was largely ignorant of the role of NWSEO in negotiating the changes to work conditions. I certainly was. It was only after a NWSEO Regional Chair visited and explained how the bargaining unit would have been protected with representation. I had always been of the opinion that NWSEO didn't have a direct impact on me personally, but that experience was a wakeup call.

Greg Hanson, Hydrologist, WFO Burlington, VT

Lisa Frantz, HMT, (former ASA), Shreveport, LA

NWS/NOAA is trying to eliminate my position (ITO) based on nonfactual information. NWSEO has successfully lobbied Congress to block the NWS' plan.

Virgil Middendorf, ITO, Billings, MT

I'm a proud NWSEO member because our union fights for the local office workers and their mission within the agency, without our union, we would see more uninformed an ill-advised changes being advocated from out of touch policy makers in DC than we already do.

Tony Cristaldi, Meteorologist, WFO Melbourne, Florida

The management of NOAA and NWS do not want me (an ITO) in a WFO and have planned for years to eliminate me. NWSEO is my only teammate that has my back!

Matthew Duplantis, ITO, Shreveport, LA

"Our steward keeps us informed and works with management to maintain a great work environment." I’ve been a NWSEO member for a long time and can attest to the benefit of having an employee organization with the power represent to our best interests. Our steward keeps us informed and works with management to maintain a great work environment. This includes an agreement on staff preferred nine hour alternative work schedules. Thanks NWSEO.

Brian Korty / WPC Lead Forecaster College Park, MD

An A76 was going to eliminate my 1340 position at the Radar Operations Center. NWSEO made sure that didn't happen.

Stan Grell, Meteorologist, Radar Operations Center, HQ Region

There are managers in the NWS that think they can walk right over non-management members. They think only of themselves and do their utmost to ruin other fellow coworkers. That's the reason I joined the NWSEO.

Gerald Claycomb, Lead Meteorologist, WFO Cheyenne, WY

It was at this convention where I learned the important role that NWSEO plays in legislative activities.
I joined NWSEO back in 1995 just as a threat of a federal-government wide furlough loomed on the horizon. I was a journey forecaster at the WFO Sacramento, the first spin-up office in Western Region. I was recruited by Charles Ross, who was the steward for both the CNRFC and the WFO, and the second I joined, I wondered what had taken me so long to do so! The first convention I attended was in 2005, in Scottsdale, AZ. 
Attending the convention really opened my eyes to what the NWSEO does both at the field-office level as well as nationally, and how much it can do to help shape the NWS. It was at this convention where I learned the important role that NWSEO plays in legislative activities. Being a member of NWSEO and being able to contribute to the NWSEO-PAC fund, I can rest assured that the interests of our agency are being represented to the appropriate members of Congress and the Senate, in an effort to ensure that we get adequate funding to run the NWS. I view my membership in NWSEO as an important insurance policy for my career!

Suzanne Sims, Western Region Chair, MTR Steward

I'm here to make sure a diversity of viewpoints are represented within NWSEO and to ensure fair treatment.

Barb Mayes Boustead, Meteorologist, WFO Omaha, NE

For 21 years I worked at an anti-union retailer and experienced how employees can be harassed by local management with no way to fight back. I gladly joined NWSEO as an intern. (Thanks, Jeanne Allen) Unions level the playing field. Being a NWSEO member gave me peace of mind I never had before.

Ellie Desnoyers Kelch Journeyman Forecaster, WFO Spokane WA.

Brutally honest (as usual): I joined NWSEO over two decades ago precisely because I stood against some of what national NWSEO leadership was advocating and doing. I had been a vocal critic of both union and management on assorted items, publicly, for my entire NWS career to that point. A friend who was a loyal and devoted NWSEO member made me realize that the only way to effect change and gain some protection from managerial retaliation was to join--and so I did.

While not everything I wanted has come to pass, and I still don't agree with some issues on the national level, NWSEO is much better today than 25 years ago, and has been a net positive force for protecting and enriching the working conditions of employees. I've served as a local steward for five different terms since, and gained due appreciation for the need to stand against the abuses and incompetencies that big bureaucracy can inflict upon front-line employees. NWSEO is the only organized voice for NWS meteorologists, period. You don't have to march in lockstep, but you should exercise your ability to have a say. That's the door membership opens.

Roger Edwards, Meteorologist, NCEP Storm Prediction Center

During 2013, NOAA was prepared to give us all an unpaid two week furlough, even though the funds were available to keep us working. NWSEO kept that unpaid furlough from happening which was worth about 10 years of union dues.
The impact on scheduling is huge. We help determine the type of schedule we'll be working and know when we'll be working in advance. Prior to NWSEO, scheduling was often at the whim of the local manager with little notice of when one would be working from day to day.

Greg Martin, Meteorologist, WFO San Diego, CA

NOAA/NWS has been trying to eliminate/consolidate ITOs for several years without taking time to learn what they actually do. NWSEO has successfully lobbied Congress to block the NWS's plan and to force the NWS to develop a pilot program to test the concept before positions are cut.

Mark Keehn, ITO, WFO Houston, TX

I joined NWSEO when CONOPS was threatening to do away with local offices and centralize forecasting. I was very pleased with the actions NWSEO took to protect our field offices and keep forecasting at the local level. I remain a proud member because NWSEO Is our voice, working to defend our jobs and our mission to protect lives and property.

Mark Bloomer, Meteorologist, WFO Caribou, Maine

I joined NWSEO because I believe strongly in organized labor, and come from a family whose lives would have been demonstrably more difficult without the advocacy of a union. I remain a member because NWSEO is the only voice for the NWS employees actually delivering on our mission, and is an important check on the sometimes disconnected ambitions of management.
NWSEO membership paid for itself and then some by preventing the unnecessary furloughs in recent years.

Joseph Nield, Meteorologist, WFO Indianapolis, Indiana

I joined the union for several reasons. The first and foremost is because of what happened back in my home state of Wisconsin when Governor Scott Walker managed to pass his infamous "Union Busting Act.” Many of my family members and friends were directly affected by that action. One of my aunts worked at a nursing home as a Certified Nursing Assistant and was a member of a union that worked to protect her work schedule and pay. Once their union was abolished the management team ran roughshod over the staff. If someone called in sick, a person that just finished a twelve hour shift would be asked to cover the vacated shift and if they refused, management had the right to fire them. The management team also slashed the staffing levels and reduced pay, which led to a major decline of employee morale. That is one example of the many horror stories of managerial abuse I have heard from my family and friends, but it is one of the main reasons I joined NWSEO.

The second reason I joined is because within the first month of my career with the NWS, the Agency unilaterally decided to open the Collective Bargaining Agreement for re-negotiation in hopes they could make it completely expire within 90 days. Shortly after that I found out about the OWA and felt that the Agency’s actions really needed to be more transparent. I joined NWSEO shortly after my one year of service anniversary and almost immediately a grievance was filed on my behalf that helped correct the Agency’s pay action that incorrectly promoted me by only a Within Grade Step Increase (GS07 to GS07 Step 2) rather than the proper two Full Grade Increases (GS07 to GS09).

Karleisa Rogacheski, Met Intern, WFO Eureka

I joined the NWSEO in the early 90s as an Intern to fight for the Interns to be promoted to GS-11. At the time Interns where only eligible to be promoted to a GS-9 but did the same work as the HMTs which where GS-11s.

Ray Sondag, WFO Tulsa

Simple for me as I joined today, first request for some information I've made from NWSEO in 5 years, simply lead me to the information on the reassignment process because I accidentally deleted it, and Martin got back with me within hours. I told him it's the little things like that count, taking time from your day to help others.

Pete Speicher, Meteorologist, Grand Forks, ND

I joined the union the week after the first proposal to remove the ITOs. Although it wasn't my position that was being threatened, I wanted to support the ITOs since I would want their support if my job was threatened in the future. Our agency is a great bargain for the total cost to the taxpayers, and we should fight for every job in the agency. 

Tom Green WFO Pittsburgh, Journeyman Forecaster

I am in the NWSEO for a number of reasons. The NWSEO saved thousands of jobs over 10 years ago when they thwarted an attempt by then Senator Santorum to privatize the NWS by handing over all or most of its responsibilities to Accu-weather.
Another reason is the elimination of CONOPS by NWSEO several years ago, which would have consolidated the NWS into 4 or 5 super centers, again with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The NWSEO also fought hard for the rights of dozens of worthy, and highly experienced interns several years ago, by attempting to finally secure them journeyman forecaster positions. Although the NWSEO was not successful in their attempt, they were able to secure true overtime for interns across the country (in effect producing a very healthy pay raise for all interns).
The NWSEO was instrumental in continuing to provide $300 in annual payments for employees health club memberships during the past several years.
The NWSEO has also been instrumental in thwarting local management's attempts to suspend me without pay on numerous occasions during the past several years, for reasons that were baseless and without merit. (all suspension notices were revoked). The services I received from the NWSEO during the past several years, in my opinion, were crucial in saving my job. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have an entity such as the NWSEO as a buffer between the employee and management.
 All in all, I have been impressed with the services such a small, but resourceful, union has been able to provide for all employees since joining in 1995.

Anthony Zaleski, Meteorologist, NWS Chanhassen, MN

Mark Pellerito, Lead Forecaster, WFO Binghamton, NY

NWSEO and the LOT process helps mitigate the problems of poor managers, and helps the good ones be great! I have worked in several offices in the NWS, under a number of different managers. Thankfully, there have been more good ones than poor.

Linda Engebretson Meteorologist, WFO Duluth, MN

I'm here because politicians are not good at making informed decisions about the NWS. NWSEO helps us take a stand against the bad ones.

Ryan Ellis, Journeyman Forecaster, WFO Raleigh, NC

I enjoyed being active in my work with NWSEO.  I had many opportunities to strengthen the membership at that time and recruited many Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) students and interns over many years.  I also helped to organize AOML, and I participated in the NWS Diversity Council and the Health and Safety team that secured the Health & Wellness benefits for NWS employees.


I wish the membership well and my heart is with you in the upcoming struggles for unions and especially government workers!


Stay Strong and Bless the NWSEO!  I salute you, Richard and the council and all of our active members!”

Lifetime Member Robert Ebaugh



Meet NWSEO Member Paul Fike

(February 21, 2021) NWSEO continues to collect nominations for our “NWSEO Member Spotlight,” showcasing the work, dedication and talents of our members, inspiring others and connecting all of our union members.

Meet Paul Fike, Former Steward and Lead Forecaster at the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) in Kansas City, MO, who retired at the end of January 2021 after over 36 years of service!

What sparked your interest in a career in weather?

My interest in meteorology started when I was 8 years old.  I grew up in the southern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.  On January 26, 1967, a blizzard dumped 23 inches on the Chicago area.  It remains the most snow that I have ever seen from a single storm and triggered my interest in meteorology.

What is your history working with the NWS?

I started working with the NWS at the National Severe Storms Forecast Center (NSSFC) in August 1984.  If you asked me in graduate school where I wanted to work, it would be NSSFC.  I was also fortunate to work alongside my best friends for the first 10-12 years of my career.  I met them in graduate school at St. Louis University.  I also worked with former classmates from my undergraduate days at Northern Illinois University.

At NSSFC, I started in the National Public Service Unit and was promoted to Severe Local Storms Unit (SELS) Assistant forecaster in February 1987.  In February 1992, I was promoted to the Convective SIGMET Unit which was part of the National Aviation Weather Advisory Unit (NAWAU).  The SELS portion of NSSFC moved to Norman, OK and became the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).  NAWAU became the AWC and remained in Kansas City.  I was promoted to AWC Lead Forecaster in August 1996 as part of the charter group of AWC Leads.  I held that position until my retirement on January 30, 2021.

Describe the most interesting/unusual experience in your work.

I always found my work interesting since every day is different.  When you are forecasting on a national scale, there is always something to look at.  I was a magnet for computer problems when I worked.  On one occasion at 1 AM, the lights went out, but the computers stayed up.  A few seconds later, the lights came back on, but the computers all went down.

Why did you join the NWSEO?

I joined the NWSEO due to the role that NWSEO plays in stating our case before Congress during budget deliberations.  NWS management is confined to supporting the President’s budget.  NWSEO has been an advocate for the NWS employees to the members of Congress who are making decisions on our future budgets.

Continue reading this article here: Four Winds News Only

Please submit your Member Spotlight suggestions and comments to Christy Fox at mediarelations@nwseo.org.



Meet NWSEO Member David Saale

(February 5, 2021) Congratulations to newly retired NWSEO Member David Saale of Kansas City, MO after serving 30 years in the NWS.  Originally from Chillicothe, MO, Mr. Saale served in the Field Artillery Unit of the Army during 1976-79 in Augsburg, Germany.  He began his career with the NWS National Logistics Support Center (NLSC) shortly after working for a printing company in the Kansas City area.   Mr. Saale joined NWSEO in 2008 when he first met former Executive Vice President Bill Hopkins and General Counsel Richard Hirn in their visit to NLSC.  “Richard Hirn and Bill Hopkins were very professional and shared with me that this would be a smooth transition and it was.  My NWSEO contacts have always been helpful with any questions or problems that I inquired about,” he stated.  Mr. Saale served as NLSC steward from 2008 until his retirement on January 2021.

In recent months, Mr. Saale contributed to a massive effort where NLSC shipped over 300,000 masks to NOAA federal employees.

When asked, would you recommend joining and supporting NWSEO to others; if so, why?  Mr. Saale replied, “Employees should step up and support the work of NWSEO.  I encourage employees to aid the only union with the ability to participate in collective bargaining for NWS employees (as well as NESDIS, AOC, AOML, OGC), creating better working conditions for all.”

The NWSEO salutes Mr. Saale and his great support of NWSEO membership and active involvement.

We hope feature stories like this will be a communication tool for NWSEO Members to get to know each other, from across the nation, connect even more, and together, support each other in the work of NWSEO and in strengthening our membership.

Please submit your Member Spotlight suggestions and comments to Christy Fox at mediarelations@nwseo.org.


Published December 22, 2020 by Weatherwise Magazine featuring CR Chairperson Jim Lee.

Jim Lee is a forecaster at the Des Moines, Iowa, NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO). An Iowa native, Lee grew up loving weather and reading Weatherwise. He earned his master’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and took his first job with the NWS in Key West, Florida. He is now part of a team of forecasters in the Des Moines office, and although he misses the warm Florida winters, he is happy to be back in his hometown providing a public service to the community.

Download the 1187 form here. There is no need to include a new members' Social Security Number.

Speaking Points - Why Should I Join NWSEO?