Good news mixed with bad on the union front at Robins

December 27, 2013 

The numbers are encouraging. It has been a bit more than 40 days since the new union leadership took office at Robins Air Force Base and grievances have dropped by 40 percent. While not the end-all of issues at Robins, that’s good news, considering that in 2012 workers filed 328 grievances at Robins -- more than at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma combined. Retired Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, who now leads the 21st Century Partnership, started waving warning flags this year that the number of grievances could be a major factor for the Air Force in determining the future of Robins.

Base employees responded and voted in a new union leadership team. However, that election may have to be rerun, said Everett Kelley, the national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees 5th District. The order from the national is being appealed. Apparently, there were more than 39 election violations listed in the original complaint. While most of the issues have been dismissed, one complaint that seven completed ballots were found in the trash remains unresolved and unexplained.

Of course, the complaints stem from ousted union leadership, and it is their right to have a fair election. The question the national union leadership has to ask is whether the seven ballots would have made a difference in the outcome of any of the results. Even if the election is found to be free of further problems, the union may decide to order a new election just to avoid a cloud of suspicion that might dog local union leadership and take their focus from the job at hand. It is our sense a new election will only confirm the Nov. 5 election results.

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