Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the UN Staff Union in New York. A basic informative overview of the union can also be found in our Introductory PowerPoint, and a FAQ relating more generally to the work of the United Nations as a whole can be found at Ask Dag.
We are a Labour Union representing New York Secretariat Staff, Locally Recruited Staff in the field, and Staff Members of UN Information Centers.
If you are a staff member at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, you are automatically a member of the United Nations Staff Union.
Download the form, print, fill out, sign and send it via Inter-office Mail to the Treasurer; you can also scan the form and email it or even fax it. From the moment we receive your form, you are considered a dues paying member in good standing!
The Union represents staff member’s interests in meetings around the world that affect our conditions of service. It hires consultants to deal with specific staff concerns such as concerns about asbestos in the work place, and legal specialists to review changes in UN policies and Rules and Regulations.
To enjoy the right to be elected as a Staff Representative, and to use Union programmes, such as receiving legal advice from our Legal Advisor or using our legal insurance plan you must be a dues paying member.
Your Union can only be strong if members make it strong through your financial support and involvement in the issues!
Most people feel—if they do not have a problem now, why bother, why care about being a member of the United Nations Staff Union? But for many staff members, when there is a problem, the Union is the place to turn to for help. Particularly in a workplace such as the United Nations, with
so many parties directly or indirectly involved in the administration of the Organization, our Union is fundamental to the protection of the rights of staff members.
You may not be aware of this, but the Union works hard for you behind the scenes on issues affecting many staff members, such as cost of living raises, various human resources policies and changes in conditions of service. We are also there to help you with personal issues, with staff reps ready to act on your behalf in the solution of issues such as a disagreement with your supervisor or the threat of termination due to the abolishment of your post. We work on many aspects you may not be aware of to ensure you have a safe and healthy and constructive work environment and are treated fairly!
Are Staff Union board members paid extra for this service work out of our dues? Is that why you want us to join and pay?
No we are not paid extra. We only get time-release from the administration to be able to carry out our Union duties: full time for the Leadership and part-time for both Executive Board members and Staff Representatives. Why did we choose to serve in the Union? Because we believe and feel most strongly that everyone who works hard deserves to be treated equally, fairly and be properly paid for their work.
The Union uses the monies paid to fund business operations and activities the Union carries out on behalf of its members; for participating in expert body meetings such as those of the ICSC and training of newly elected staff representatives; to provide legal advice to the Union through our Legal Advisor; to express our views to high-level UN officials and Member States including through social activities, such as an annual joint reception, with all Secretariat Unions for delegates of the 5th Committee, members of the ACABQ and ICSC. Spending, depending on the amount, is voted upon by either the Executive Board or by the Staff Council at its regular weekly meetings. YOU, through your staff representative, get a vote on how your money gets used by the Union. The finances of the Union are audited every two years by an independent auditor.
The Staff Council determines the amount of dues. Recently, the Staff Council adopted a resolution setting a minimum of $5.00 as the monthly contribution, which roughly represents 1/400th of a GS- 4 salary and currently topping out at $20.00 for a D-2 staff. There is a table with recommended contribution amounts for each category and level on the back of the membership form for ease of reference; you can also contact your staff rep for more information. Once you sign the form dues are automatically deducted every pay period by UN Payroll.
The best first step is to come to our regular weekly Staff Council meetings held on Thursdays from 1:15PM to 2:30PM. Those meetings normally take place at a conference room in the UNHQ Secretariat, so call the Union office (212-963-7075) to know exactly where.
You are always welcome to visit our office located on the third floor of the Library Building, L-0300.
I’m afraid if I am active in the Union or contact the Union requesting help regarding a problem I am facing my supervisor will treat me differently or things will get worse…
You should know that Management cannot discriminate against you in any way whatsoever for your affiliation with, or participation in the Union or for your filing a complaint against them. If a manager has directly told you the “right thing to do” is not to be active in the Union or not contact the Union for help — this is potentially ILLEGAL and may constitute harassment, abuse of authority or a combination of both, all PROHIBITED CONDUCT within the United Nations. If this happens, we need to hear about it. Being active within the Union or seeking help is your business only, not your supervisor’s.
There are certain very important bodies, such as the International Civil Service Commission – ICSC, that cannot handle all the Unions of the UN Common System coming to meetings at the same time. For that reason, Unions join Federations, which represent them at ICSC meetings, as well as at meetings of the HR Network and other bodies.
The United Nations Staff Union recently joined CCISUA – the Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations of the United Nations System. CCISUA is, in our opinion, a healthy combination of Secretariat and non-Secretariat Unions. It is currently led by the President of the Union of the International Labour Organization – ILO and is a member in its own right of the General Federation of Trade Unions – GFTU, a body located in London composed of highly specialized Unions throughout the world. We feel, therefore, that CCISUA has the necessary expertise to further the protection of the rights of our members at all levels.
CCISUA does not have mandatory annual fees, but it does need the financial support of its members in order to fully function. When we joined, we became CCISUA’s largest member. Since we represent approximately 25,500 colleagues, we decided to pledge USD $20,000.00 per year to support our Federation; however, smaller Unions pledge less.
Then you are not a staff member and therefore not a member of the Union. But rest assured that, in case you need the help of the Union for issues related to the performance of your duties, such as abuse of authority by your supervisors, and fulfillment of your contract, a staff representative will provide you with the appropriate support.
What if I have been a service provider for a number of years and have always performed tasks as if I were a staff member?
Service providers are supposed to perform a specific task for a certain amount of time and then leave the Organization. If that was not your case, we consider that the fault is the Organization’s and we will do everything we can so that the Organization can correct it in the most beneficial way for you. But in legal terms, as long as you are a service provider you are not considered a staff member.
By phone: 212-963-7075
By email: email@example.com
Via our website: www.u-seek.org
Or in person: UNHQ Secretariat, 3rd Floor Library Building, L-0300