Organizing Tip of the Week: Unions Support the Federal Community
Potential members often ask, “What will joining the union do for me?” There are countless ways to answer that question, from talking about labor’s historical accomplishments, and the union plus discount benefits, to touting the favorable terms your Local negotiated in your Collective Bargaining Agreement.
You can also share the many ways that NFFE is working at the National level to promote and support federal employees. One example of this is NFFE’s involvement with the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA).
FEEA was founded in 1986 through the collaboration of union leaders and the heads of management organizations, who felt that federal employees needed an outlet for providing and receiving assistance from one another. Then-NFFE National President Jim Pierce was one of the organization’s founding members, and NFFE has held a seat on the Board and remained actively involved ever since.
FEEA is currently celebrating its 25th year of serving the federal community. The organization helps federal employees in a multitude of ways. One such way is through no interest loans, repaid through payroll deductions, provided to employees coping with personal emergencies. Grants are offered to federal employees experiencing major losses due to a declared natural disaster; these do not have to be repaid. Since its inception in 1986, FEEA has provided more than $7.7 million in aid to more than 13,000 federal employees.
FEEA also gives out a number of scholarships every year. Civilian and postal employees with at least three years of federal service, as well as their spouses and dependent children, are eligible to apply. FEEA administers the Richard N. Brown Memorial Scholarship, honoring our late NFFE National President, which can be applied for by NFFE members, their spouses, and college-age dependents. Since 1986, FEEA has given out more than $10.2 million in scholarship assistance to over 8,000 students.
These programs and figures are something we can all be proud of, and should be shared with our bargaining unit employees. It’s also important to let them know about the programs and services available to them, thanks in large part to unions.
Helping spread the word about FEEA may benefit a member or eligible member, and it demonstrates that labor unions—including NFFE—give back to their communities.
Please also consider making a donation to FEEA. FEEA is currently celebrating its 25th year of helping federal employees and their families, and is conducting a fundraising drive to commemorate this anniversary. Thanks to a generous grant from the BlueCross/BlueShield Association (BCBS) the first $25,000 in individual donations during this campaign will be matched by BCBS, giving your donation twice the impact. Help FEEA reach its $100,000 goal and sustain the programs that matter most to federal families. Go to www.feea.org today and click the “Give Now” button.