Staff Sgt. C. J. Hatch
The 56th Fighter Wing and the American Federation of Government Employees 1547 Local signed the first-ever nonappropriated fund, or NAF, contract March 25. Wing commander Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein and union president Harley Hembd signed for their respective organizations.
Based on cooperation and communication, this unprecedented milestone is designed to ensure fair treatment of employees and the right to bargain changes in the work environment, according to the contract.
“This agreement is important because of how essential our civilian Airmen are to accomplishing the wing mission,” Rothstein said. “We’re a team and this signifies our commitment to taking care of the men and women of the Air Force’s largest fighter wing long into the future.”
The American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFGE AFL-CIO, petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority Aug. 13, 2007. The petition requested an election to see if the 56th Fighter Wing’s NAF employees wanted to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining.
The election’s results confirmed that the 56th Force Support Squadron’s roughly 347 NAF employees wanted representation for collective bargaining. Those talks ultimately led to the March 25 signing.
However, the petition excluded all professional employees, management officials, supervisors and a small handful of others. Some of the areas on base operated by NAF workers include the Child Development Center, Club Five Six and Bryant Fitness Center.
The 56th FSS and the union began negotiating in December 2007 with the goal of bargaining the first labor management agreement of its kind in the wing. The 56th FSS is the wing’s only squadron that employs NAF employees.