NTEU was shocked when it was informed by IRS that the agency has decided to close three Submission Processing centers, including Cincinnati. Since that time, the union, both nationally and locally, has been scrambling.
Within two days, on Friday morning, NTEU National President Tony Reardon stopped in Cincinnati to address the NTEU73 staff and stewards. He had driven in overnight from Chicago because his flight to Cincinnati had been cancelled. Rather than miss the scheduled 8 a.m. meeting, he rented a car and made the drive, catching a couple of hours of sleep in an Indianapolis motel before finishing the trip. The National President had been previously scheduled to visit Chapter 9, which is located in the Federal Building in Cincinnati. But in light of the news of the closing, Mr. Reardon wanted to stop and talk to the staff and stewards of NTEU73 about what was being done already and what we can expect.
“NTEU will stand with you and we are going to fight this,” Mr. Reardon emphatically stated. “We are not going to just sit back and let this happen. It is absolutely wrong.”
“I want you to understand, this is not about softening landings,” he stressed. “That is not where I am on this. We are going to fight to stop it.” Mr. Reardon is under no illusions about how difficult the road ahead will be. “Frankly, I don’t know if we can stop it,” he said. “But we are certainly going to try.”
Mr. Reardon urged everyone to get involved in the effort, saying that tens of thousands of NTEU members all over the country are with us. “We all have to come together to fight this,” he added. “It can’t be about what Tony is doing, and Tony IS going to be doing. But it can’t be just about what the NTEU national staff is doing or about what the Chicago Field office is doing. We all have to get involved.”
Among other things, NTEU73 is organizing a letter writing campaign that will be taken to area representatives personally. The Covington City Manager has told NTEU73 President Rick Riley that he wants to go with NTEU to its appointments with local legislators. The hope is to put political pressure on the IRS to change the decision.
Mr. Reardon said that a similar situation happened in Detroit and that NTEU was able to get IRS to change strategies.
Locally, NTEU73 has been setting up tables in the cafeteria of the Fourth Street building in an effort to get employees to sign letters to their Congressmen and Senators protesting the closing. The union plans to continue this throughout the week. The letter will also be available to sign in the union office and at the labor recognition picnic, to be held Wednesday in Florence and Thursday at Fourth Street.
Not only will the closing affect people in the flat top, but it will also affect Submission Processing employees in the Gateway Center and the Florence Files building.
While Mr. Reardon was as surprised as we were at the sudden announcement, he has requested a briefing from IRS which will be happening soon.
“Unfortunately I do not have a lot of answers regarding this,” he said.
“IRS has not told us anything and they did not include us predecisionally. But I will be finding out. I think it was absolutely wrong the way they did this.”
Mr. Reardon has committed to come back to Cincinnati and meet with employees when he has more to tell. But he wanted to meet with NTEU73 Chapter leadership.
“I just want you to know that you are absolutely not in this fight alone,” he assured the Chapter leadership. “We are going to do everything we can to stop this.”