Have a question? Need an answer? Read on...
- When, how often and where do you hold your General Membership Meetings?
- Why should I join BIG when I can reap the benefits (e.g. attending the NTI and agency chapter events) without being a member?
- Why should I join BIG when I am already a member of the union?
- How do I respond when some ask “What if I started and organization called Whites in Government”?
- Agencies are required to train their employees but my supervisors won't let me attend the NTI. Is that discrimination?
- Who are BIGS's national leaders?
- I would like to become a Life Member but don't have the $325 fee! Can I pay installment?
- Can I earn CLP's for your Lunch & Learns or other local training programs or initiatives?
- What is or can BIG do for me?
- Who provided answers to questions 2, 3, 4, & 5?
Our local chapter's membership meets on the third Thursday of every other month and our Executive Committee meets monthy on the same Thursday. Click here for specifics
Although BIG’s annual NTI is more expensive to attend for nonmembers, it is definitely true that there are some BIG benefits that are available to members and nonmembers alike. And, that’s by design. We want prospective members and our agency officials to see the positive benefits and programs that BIG provides. However, there are many BIG benefits that do require membership such as the Darlene Young Leadership Academy, the Attorney Assistance (grant) program, and college scholarships sponsored by some of our corporate sponsors (e.g. Grantham University and Management Concepts). Nonmembers also miss out on a wealth of mentoring and networking opportunities that come with attending chapter, regional, and national events, many of which only members receive information about. More importantly, as a member, you would be able to help shape exactly what BIG offers to you and the generation of employees coming behind you. The more members we have, the more services we will be able to provide and benefit from
Agency unions are very important and BIG does not seek to supplant them or compete with them. On the contrary, it is our goal to work hand in hand with unions and other employee resource organizations to help employees have all the tools that they need to succeed. As such BIG serves a broader role than unions as we provide a broader level of advocacy by offering career developing training, mentoring, and networking in addition to the traditional advocacy that unions provide
If someone feels the need to start a “Whites In Government” organization, they should do just that. And, no one should have a problem with it. But, if we are comparing a Whites In Government organization to the creation of Blacks In Government, then the operative word there is in fact “need” because BIG was founded based on a need. It would be naïve to think that in 1975 when BIG was first created and in 1976 when it was incorporated, that even our government was welcoming African Americans (and indeed women) into their careers with open arms or with the equal ability to be hired, trained, promoted, and retained. So, BIG was founded to address the racially motivated discrimination that black employees in the government faced. Yes, of course, the world has changed a great deal since 1975 and so has BIG. Our organization has always been one that welcomed member of all races so that’s not what I mean. But, what I mean is just as the world has grown so has BIG and we continue to grow our training, mentoring, networking, and advocacy programs to address the changing needs of a changed work place. We continue to fill in the gaps and address the unfulfilled needs of federal, state, and local employees of any race who wants to take advantage of what we have to offer. Historically, white employees have not had the same need for such an organization but if they find that they do, I know I would fully support their desire to start one just as many of them have supported our efforts and have become members.
OPM regulations do in fact require agencies to establish and maintain training programs designed “to assist in achieving an agency’s mission and performance goals by improving employee and organizational performance”. Those regulations do, however, allow agencies some discretion in designing those programs and in approving training for individual employees. So, whether or not discrimination exists depends on the facts and circumstances. Have you requested and been allowed to attend other training efforts but not the BIG training? Are others receiving approval to attend external training efforts but not the BIG training? Ultimately, if you believe you are being discriminated against, you should seek written documentation that sets out the criteria for how training requests are approved and make the case that those criteria are being applied differently to the annual BIG training. It’s always easier to show discrimination when you have data (in this case on training approvals) and when you have criteria for how decisions are being made. So, see what you can find out.
Contact our Treasurer. Ms. Wilma Whitaker for details and arrangements at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-527-4982
Contact our Training Chair, Ms. Pamella Ellis for details at email@example.com or 256-975-7042
Our chapter salutes and thanks Ms. Shirley A. Jones ESQ, Region XI, for providing answers to these key questions! Need some more answers? Pose your question here