Why I Joined NWSEO Celebrating NWSEO MEMBERS

 

 

 

Why did you join NWSEO?

"It is an important investment in our careers!  I learned early in my career that NWSEO leaders work hard to respond to their members’ questions with regards to collective bargaining, work schedules and supporting our mission at the NWS.  I joined NWSEO to be a part of their effort and support my fellow colleagues.  They were appreciative and we were a great team."

--NWSEO Lifetime Member Martin Lee

Member Testimonials

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

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

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, NWSEO Regional Vice Chair, State College, PA

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, Associate Member

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 NWSEO because I felt that there is a need for solid representation for the bargaining unit in the organization.  In my experience, I have seen the residual effects of the lack of communication and understanding between employees and management.

In my formal training, I was taught that an organization's greatest asset is the employees.  Listening is a skill that must be cultivated.  Hearing is the auditory ability to receive sound and is used in the process of listening. When an employee feels as though they are not listened to and the platform to communicate and work collaboratively regarding the conditions that are causing difficulties in the workplace is ineffective, then the integrity of that organization’s greatest asset is compromised.  My goal and intention is to contribute to the collaborative effort by both management and the bargaining unit to create a working relationship that serves the greatest good.

Arla Tillman, NESDIS Physical Science Technician/ Aerospace Engineering Technician

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!”

Robert Ebaugh, Lifetime Member

Designation

I was hired by NOAA General Counsel (GC) in 1990 and I saw and was subjected to various management decisions that would have benefitted from employees’ input.  Marguerite Matera and Beth Mitchell, two attorneys with NOAA in the mid-1990s, put forth the idea of forming a union to allow employees an opportunity to work with management to improve working conditions and advance the mission of the office.  I knew right away that what they were proposing was a wonderful idea and that it would make NOAA GC a great place to work.  And it has!

Lauren Smoker, NOAA Attorneys Guild

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.

Paul Fike, Lifetime Member

“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.”

 

David Saale, NWS HQ NLSC

CELEBRATING OUR MEMBERS

Meet NWSEO Lifetime Member Martin Lee

(April 7, 2021) Please meet NWSEO Lifetime Member, Martin Lee of Duluth, MN.  Mr. Lee, who retired from WFO Duluth after over 41 years of service, reflects on his time as an active member of NWSEO. He has been a NWSEO member since 1988.

Why did you join NWSEO?

It is an important investment in our careers!  I learned early in my career that NWSEO leaders work hard to respond to their members’ questions with regards to collective bargaining, work schedules and supporting our mission at the NWS.  I joined NWSEO to be a part of their effort and support my fellow colleagues.  They were appreciative and we were a great team.

NWSEO Leadership Roles

I served as a Steward at the time Modernization and Restructuring began in 1988 at Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Minneapolis, MN.  About four years later, I became the NWSEO Central Region Vice-Chairperson and worked with and learned from NWSEO leaders at that time: Alan Eros, Bill Sammler, and Dieter Crowley.  When I transitioned to the Regional Chair role,I served with outstanding Vice-Chairpersons: Bill Sammler, Dieter Crowley, John Pollack, Richard Kessler, Tony Hall, Teresa Keck Jim Sieveking and Jim Lee, who is now the current Central Region Chairperson.  Some of them have moved on to management roles as NWSEO helped advance many careers.

While I was the Central Region Chairperson, I worked to support employees’ needs, negotiate changes in working conditions and file grievances when necessary.  My last opportunity to serve in NWSEO was to serve as a member of the NWSEO Credentials Committee.  This credentialing work is an important part of the national convention and the smooth running of elections within the union.

Speaking of the national convention, my first NWSEO convention was in Minneapolis in 1992.  My last convention was 26 years later in Pittsburgh, PA in 2018. At these conventions, I had the opportunity to meet and network with NWSEO members from all around the country.

The NWSEO congratulates Mr. Lee on his retirement and his outstanding contribution, efforts, and incredible support of NWSEO.  He is an excellent example of how dedication to serving others can enhance your career.

NWSEO Spotlight articles allow members across the country to get to know each other, 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.

No one cares more for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees than NOAA employees.

 No one works harder for NOAA employees than NOAA employees.

We are NOAA employees.  We are NWSEO.

NWSEO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Celebrating Women’s History Month with NOAA Attorneys Guild Regional Vice Chair Lauren Smoker

(March 17, 2021) We recently interviewed NOAA Attorneys Guild (NAG) Regional Vice Chair, Lauren Smoker of Juneau, Alaska to learn more about her experiences serving as a regional leader.  Ms. Smoker has worked as an attorney for over 26 years, and she is one of the top women leaders in NWSEO.  She is engaging and influential with an optimistic spirit and has achieved effective results in many areas, including recruitment.

How long have you worked for NOAA Attorneys Guild?

I’ve been with NAG since its beginning in 1995!  I became a steward in the late 1990s and Vice Chair for NAG in 2012.

What type of work do you do?  What projects are you working on?

I’m an attorney for NOAA and I provide legal advice to the Alaska Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  I help the NMFS and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council develop fisheries management strategies that comply with legal requirements.  NMFS and the Council manage commercial and recreational fisheries off Alaska out to 200 nautical miles from the coast.  I’ve worked on Bering Sea crab regulations (i.e., Deadliest Catch), salmon issues, and programs that allocate fish harvesting privileges for pollock, Pacific cod and flatfish to large catcher processor vessels operating in the Bering Sea.

Why did you join NWSEO?  Why do you support the work of NWSEO?

I was hired by NOAA General Counsel (GC) in 1990 and I saw and was subjected to various management decisions that would have benefitted from employees’ input.  Marguerite Matera and Beth Mitchell, two attorneys with NOAA in the mid-1990s, put forth the idea of forming a union to allow employees an opportunity to work with management to improve working conditions and advance the mission of the office.  I knew right away that what they were proposing was a wonderful idea and that it would make NOAA GC a great place to work.  And it has!

Any experiences you’d like to share serving as Regional Vice Chair?

Being a part of NAG has always been important to me, from being a member, to being office steward, and now to being Regional Vice Chair.  But becoming Regional Vice Chair has allowed me to participate in the larger mission of NWSEO, and I’ve learned so much.  It has been a great experience getting to know the National NWSEO leadership as well as stewards and vice stewards from across the agency.  I look forward to the convention every year because I get to see friends I’ve made over the years and learn about all the terrific work NWSEO is doing for its membership and NOAA.  It has also allowed me to learn more of what NAG is doing for our entire bargaining unit, and to be part of those efforts.

What are some important gains women have made in NOAA NAG?

Well, the formation of NAG was due in exceptionally large part to Marguerite and Beth!  Women have served in many roles, on negotiation teams, projects, being stewards, vice stewards, Regional Chair and Regional Vice Chair.  Gender equality is very strong in NAG, and I see that continuing.

 

-NWSEO-

Women’s History Month continues with NWSEO NESDIS Regional Vice Chair Arla Tillman

(March 24, 2021) We recently interviewed NWSEO NESDIS Regional Vice Chair, Arla Tillman. Ms. Tillman works at NESDIS in Maryland as a Physical Science Technician / Aerospace Engineering Technician.  Ms. Tillman has worked with NESDIS for over 24 years, and she continues to be instrumental in the growth and development of NWSEO membership.

How long have you worked for NESDIS?

I've been with NESDIS since 1997.  Prior to working for NESDIS, I was in the Air Force assigned to the 6th Space Operations Squadron as a Space Systems Operations Specialist.  Shortly after starting my career at NESDIS, despite the difficulty in working rotating shift work, l decided to persevere and go back to school and pursue both an undergraduate degree in Information Systems Management and a graduate degree in Computer Systems Management.

What type of work do you do?

As a Physical Science Technician/Aerospace Engineering Technician, I remotely command and control environmental satellites and prepare ground system equipment to communicate with satellites.  My job is to ensure satellite data is recorded inside as well as outside of our window to communicate with it and is delivered real-time to our civilian and military customers.   Our customers’ unique and specialized missions depend on the real-time data that they receive.

Being able to fix ground system and satellite anomalies comes with its share of challenges.  But I would not be who I am if I did not embrace challenges as development and learning opportunities.

Why did you join NWSEO?

I joined NWSEO because I felt that there is a need for solid representation for the bargaining unit in the organization.  In my experience, I have seen the residual effects of the lack of communication and understanding between employees and management.

In my formal training, I was taught that an organization's greatest asset is the employees.  Listening is a skill that must be cultivated. Hearing is the auditory ability to receive sound and is used in the process of listening.  When an employee feels as though they are not listened to and the platform to communicate and work collaboratively regarding the conditions that are causing difficulties in the workplace is ineffective, then the integrity of that organization’s greatest asset is compromised.  My goal and intention are to contribute to the collaborative effort by both management and the bargaining unit to create a working relationship that serves the greatest good.

What are some important gains women have made in NOAA/NESDIS?

When I came to NOAA- NESDIS in 1997, there had never been a woman supervisor in operations until 2016.  Since then, I've seen a greater representation of women in technical and science positions where representation was minimal or non-existent.

NWSEO continues to collect feature stories and testimonials of members from all over the country.  To nominate a colleague or participate in these features, write to NWSEO Membership Director Christy Fox at membership@nwseo.org.

-NWSEO-

 

February Feature Celebrating Black History Month

with NWSEO AOML Vice Steward Evan Forde

In celebration of Black History Month, 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/

This article was posted on February 1, 2021 by AOML Communications to Featured at NOAA

 

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

-NWSEO-