Order Code RS21268
Updated January 9, 2003
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Homeland Security: Data on Employees
and Unions Potentially Affected
Specialist in Labor Economics
Domestic Social Policy Division
This report provides data on federal employee unions and employees who will be
potentially affected by the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
For information on legal issues raised by the proposed DHS, see CRS Report RL31520,
Collective Bargaining and Homeland Security. This report will be updated if events
President Bush’s June 18, 2002, proposal for a new Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) called for incorporating agencies/offices/functions from 22 existing
departments and independent agencies, as well as approximately 170,000 employees, into
its structure. In effect, the creation of a DHS is a major reorganization within the federal
government. Most of the realigned agencies in the President’s proposal are covered under
the provisions of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (FSLMRS;
Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, U.S.C. §7101-7135), and many of their
employees are represented by unions that have negotiated collective bargaining
agreements with the agencies.
However, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 includes a provision (5. U.S.C.
Section 7103 (b)) authorizing the President to exclude an agency or subdivision from the
ability to bargain collectively if the primary function of the agency or subdivision is
intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative, or national security work; and if applying
the labor-management relations provisions of the Act would be inconsistent with national
The President’s legislative proposal was introduced in the House on June 24, 2002
as H.R. 5005. H.R. 5005, as amended, was passed by the House on July 26, 2002. H.R.
5710, a revised version of H.R. 5005, was introduced and passed in the House on
November 13, 2002. The Senate adopted an amendment (S.Amdt. 4901) identical to H.R.
5710 and passed H.R. 5005, on November 19, 2002. H.R. 5005, as amended, was signed
into law (P.L. 107-296) by the President on November 25, 2002. This report focuses on
the federal employee unions potentially affected by this law. The labor provisions of P.L.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
107-296 are discussed in CRS Report RL31520.1 P.L. 107-296 permits the Secretary of
the DHS, jointly with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, to establish,
and from time to time adjust, a human resources management system for some or all of
the organizational units of the Department of Homeland Security. The requirements for
this new system are listed in CRS Report RL31500.2 The Bush Administration asserts
that flexibility is needed in the DHS’s human resources management system because the
major function of the department is to maintain the security of the United States and to
respond to evolving threats. The Administration asserts that the creation of a new DHS
is not an attempt to eliminate unions. In testimony submitted to the House Select
Committee on Homeland Security on July 15, 2002, Governor Tom Ridge stated:
The proposed legislation does not impair employees’ collective bargaining rights in
any way or change existing authorities. Specifically the legislation proposed by the
Administration provides that when the Department is established, employees
represented by unions will continue to be represented because their bargaining units
will move with them. The Administration would support specific statutory
affirmation of the existing rights of the Department of Homeland Security employees
to union representation, subject to National Security authority.
In contrast, federal employee unions have weighed in with significant reservations
regarding the DHS and its implications for employee unions. For example, Bobby
Harnage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, stated:
It is extremely dangerous to conclude that the war on terrorism must be fought by
federal employees denied their basic labor and civil service rights and protections ....
When public employees’ rights and protections are compromised, so too is the safety
and security of the public they serve .... Homeland security requires a secure work
force with employees who can be certain that they, too, will be protected from politics
and favoritism and from punishment for speaking out against any mismanagement
they witness .... Destroying the rights of federal employees will, in turn, destroy any
attempt to provide skilled, well-trained, professional employees to guard our nation
and its citizens.3
Approximately 43,000 federal employees who are represented by a union4 would be
potentially affected by the creation of the DHS. The major unions potentially affected,
and the numbers of employees covered by these unions, are listed below, by function and
For information on the implications for collective bargaining of the proposal for a new DHS,
as well as a discussion of the labor-related provisions contained in other DHS bills under
consideration, see CRS Report RL31520, Collective Bargaining and Homeland Security, by Jon
CRS Report RL31500, Homeland Security: Human Resources Management, by Barbara L.
American Federation of Government Employees. News Release, July 11, 2002.
Data on these unions and the number of employees they represent are as of January 2001. Data
are from: U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Union Recognition in the Federal Government,
agency. (Small functions/agencies as well as functions/agencies without union members
are not listed.)5
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, located in the
Department of Agriculture. There are four major unions with 2,498
National Association of Agriculture Employees: 2,032 covered
American Federation of Government Employees: 235 covered
National Association of Plant Protection and Quarantine Office
Service Employees: 225 covered employees.
National Federation of Federal Employees, Affiliate of International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: 6 covered
The Coast Guard, located in the Department of Transportation. There are
12 major unions with 3,486 employees covered.
American Federation of Government Employees: 1,937 covered
2. International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers:
507 covered employees.
3. Metal Trades Council: 474 covered employees.
4. National Association of Government Employees, Affiliate of the
Service Employees International Union: 308 covered employees.
5. National Federation of Federal Employees, Affiliate of International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: 87 covered
6. Service Employees International Union: 47 covered employees.
7. National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association: 41 covered
8. Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union: 32
9. International Brotherhood of Police Officers: 24 covered employees.
10. International Brotherhood of Teamsters: 12 covered employees.
11. International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades: 9 covered
12. International Association of Firefighters: 8 covered employees.
The United States Customs Service, located in the Department of the
National Treasury Employees Union: 11,731 covered employees.
For a broader discussion of human resources issues, including a discussion of all agencies and
functions that would be shifted to a new DHS see CRS Report RL31500, Homeland Security:
Human Resources Management, by Barbara Schwemle.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Federal Protective Service, located in the General Services
American Federation of Government Employees: 1,138 covered
Fraternal Order of Police: 50 covered employees.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service, located in the Department
American Federation of Government Employees: 24,324 covered
Because of the large number of employees, resources, and bargaining units
potentially affected, collective bargaining in a new DHS may be complex:
During the transition to a new DHS, The Federal Labor Relations
Authority (FLRA) would be responsible for deciding whether existing
bargaining units are appropriate based on three criteria:
These unit determinations could be resolved in several possible ways:6
The unit must ensure a clear and identifiable community of interest
among employees in the unit.
The unit must promote effective dealings with the agency involved.
The unit must promote efficiency of the operations of the agency
Under successorship, there is effectively no change in existing
A petition could be filed by employees or management seeking a
clarification of unit or amendment of recognition or certification.
One or more bargaining units could be combined to form a new
The bargaining unit could be determined to be no longer appropriate
or the union representing the unit to be no longer the exclusive
representative of the unit.
As noted above, employees may be determined to be “engaged in
intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative, or national security
work,” and therefore excluded from coverage under the Federal
Service Labor Management Relations Statute.
For a complete discussion of these issues see CRS Congressional Distribution Memorandum,
Department of Homeland Security — Current Administrative Structure of Units Proposed to
Transfer. Project Coordinator, Sharon Gressle, June 28, 2002. p. 12-14.