Leadership

President  – Bibi Sherifa Khan

Office L-0303 // Ext 3-8485 // khanb@un.org

            Having served at the UN for more than 20 years – in DPKO, DPI, and DESA at UNHQ, as well as on assignment in the UNTAET and UNAMID peacekeeping missions – I have acquired a good understanding of the work of our organization. I have taken part in staff-management relations on ad-hoc panels for departmental investigations into complaints by staff members, and served on staff committees and as chairperson of polling officers for staff union and staff pension committee elections. I have come to appreciate the complexities of the mandates that my colleagues are tasked with and the constraints they face in carrying out their functions.

            When we came into office at the Staff Union, it was at a critical juncture, in decline because of a lack of goodwill on the part of individuals to transcend their differences. The ugly divisiveness that paralyzed negotiations with management was to the detriment of all staff, and allowed the administration to implement decisions that have negatively impacted staff. We have seen our remuneration decrease despite sharp increases in the cost of living here in New York. Staff members are affected by budget cuts, changes to the way we work, and changes in compensation packages. Increasingly we are called upon to serve in hostile locations, to perform our duties in environments of increasing stress and uncertainty, with little attention to work-life balance. At the same time, changes to the way our pensions are managed are taking place without full disclosure (link to pension fund article and petition).

            I am honored to have Patricia Nemeth and Cristina Silva by my side in navigating a way forward. They share my commitment to doing what is right for our colleagues and for serving you with purpose and dignity. We promise to bring a new discourse to the Staff Union: one that addresses the deficit of trust that has eroded staff-management relations and is inclusive, innovative, and positive in its approach. We invite you to join hands with us and collaborate to restore the credibility of our Staff Union as a viable, ethical, and capable partner by our rapidly changing world of work.

First Vice-President – Patricia Nemeth

Office L-0305 // Ext. 3-2134 // nemethp@un.org

            I have been working at the UN for the Security and Safety Service under the Department of Safety and Security since 2001, as a Security Sergeant within the Threat and Risk Unit. I have also served in three peacekeeping missions (UNTAET, MINURSO and MFO) prior to my current assignment at UNHQ. I hold a Doctor of Philosophy in Global Affairs from Rutgers University in New Jersey, a Masters in Public Administration (Inspector General Program) from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and BSc in Economics from Hungary, which is where I grew up. Currently I am working for the Staff Union full time.

            I decided to run for Staff Union leadership because I saw that we need greater transparency, accountability, and protection against retaliation in order to increase staff morale so they can serve with their full capability of excellence. I want to have open and candid discussions on rules and regulations, to ensure that all UN staff are treated fairly and protected against harassment. Specific issues I am working on include the G/S to P barrier, pensions, and Security staff working conditions.

            I hope to do work for more career opportunities for G/S staff and related categories, who are crucial pillars of this organization with tremendous talent, dedication, and experience. All staff should have equal opportunity to advance within the UN system and compete for P positions within the Secretariat.

            I also want to address the conditions of service of my colleagues in Security, including their improper salary survey and new pension scheme. They need to be well protected and represented in order for the UN to have as efficient a security apparatus as possible.

I look forward to hearing from staff members about what the Union can do for them!

Second Vice-President – Cristina Silva

Office L-0304 // Ext. 3-4637 // silva13@un.org

            I have been working with the United Nations since 1991 and was most recently working with the Department of Management, OHRM/ALS, before being elected to the Leadership of the Union. Previously, I was a staff representative from 2001 until 2008, during which time I represented the Mail Operations Unit, Capital Master Plan, United Nations Postal Administration, Garage Administration, and the Information Desk. I served on the Staff Committee for 4 years, including responsibilities of the Assistant Treasurer and Staff at large. I have also participated in the Joint Advisory Committee alongside the President and First Vice President of the Staff Union. I participated in the ICSC salary survey in 2006; and, in 2009 I became the Coordinator for the United Nations Inter Agency Games New York.

            The constant changes that are taking place within the organization reflect the situation in our offices. Mobility requirements place a lot of stress on our colleagues who have families, as well as new policies related to education grants and other entitlements. Work-life balance is still far from what is promoted. The United Nations has moved away from the human factor that was once the fabric of the organization. Now, we have been marginalized to numbers, posts, and acronyms – no longer a warm smile or a familiar face. This is why I believe that Patricia, Bibi, and I will be able to bring a new pulse to the Staff Union, which will be one that is inclusive, collaborative, and motivational in our approach.