Risky Business? Pac Decisionmaking in Congressional Elections

By Robert Biersack; Paul S. Herrnson et al. | Go to book overview

12 The National Federation of Federal Employees: Big Little Man?

William A. Pierce

With an average annual budget of only $29,118, the National Federation of Federal Employees PAC ( NFFE) could easily be classified as a small PAC with little influence in the political process. However, looks can be deceiving. Through its relationship with the Fund for Assuring a Fair Retirement (FAIR) and the Federal Postal Coalition, NFFE is able to achieve far greater access and wield far greater influence in Congress than the mere examination of its contribution records would indicate.


In the Beginning

NFFE began its life in 1917 as a charter member of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), representing workers from several federal government agencies regardless of craft. This makes it different from most AFL unions. NFFE membership was originally composed of mostly professional employees. Its membership now includes mostly blue collar workers in over 400 locals, representing 150,000 members in 42 federal agencies. Membership is concentrated in the Departments of Defense and Interior, especially the Bureau of Land Management.

NFFE split from the AFL in December of 1931 over the issue of the Classification Act, which established the system of pay grades. The AFL rejected this system because it interfered with collective bargaining. NFFE leadership disagreed, however, arguing the system to be in the best interests of its membership because it provided a more stable bargaining system. Even

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