The world’s largest union of union staff — that’s what the National Staff Organization has become. Through the efforts of literally hundreds of staff leaders, NSO has grown from a mere 35 members in a handful of states in 1969 to 4,000 (as of August 31, 2019) with 82 affiliates in 50 states and the District of Columbia. A major portion of that growth came with the decision by the 1978 NSO Representative Assembly to organize associate staff members. Today, NSO has almost 2,000 full-time and over 200 part-time associate staff members.
NSO’s record of advocacy has also had astounding growth. Under NSO’s legal, arbitration, and field assistance policy, $141,083 for the year ending August 31, 2019 was spent for cases ranging from NLRB unit determinations, dismissal arbitrations and reprimands, to health and retirement legal cases.
NSO believes in member participation. The talent and expertise among members mean there is plenty of help available for affiliates. NSO members travel throughout the United States to provide direct on-site assistance to affiliates and members. In one instance, it took nearly a dozen NSO members three years to help affiliates gain recognition and secure a first-time master contract.
By action of the 1986 Representative Assembly, NSO now has two vice-presidents: one for defense and the other for program.
NSO has two major programs to strengthen the bargaining power of its affiliates:
- Coordinated Bargaining: Affiliates participate in NSO’s program of coordinated bargaining. Four coordinated bargaining councils (CBCs) have been formed and meet regularly and have been actively involved in helping affiliates reach settlements. All affiliates are required to participate in the CBC program.
- NSO Charlie Love Crisis Fund: The lengthy 1980 Illinois Staff Organization strike underscored the need for the creation of a special fund to aid members faced with a prolonged crisis. The fund, now over $7,316,767 (August 31, 2019), is available to help members who have gone without a paycheck for an extended period of time because of a crisis. The NSO Charlie Love Crisis Fund is supported by a $25 per member dues assessment as well as timely investments. To aid affiliates, NSO has established a special “Crisis Evaluation Team,” operating through the CBCs, to work with the affiliate in exploring ways to resolve the particular crisis. NSO will also provide facilitators to assist members and/or affiliates with internal disputes.
Internal Dispute Resolution
The resolution of internal problems within a union or among unions is important. By action of the Representative Assembly, NSO has established an Internal Dispute Resolution policy and program to deal with problems that occur between associate and professional staff members in the workplace, between staff members in an affiliate, or between affiliates in a state. Members can refer to the Internal Dispute Resolution section of this handbook. The process is not intended to circumvent the collective bargaining process or the grievance procedure, but to be used as an adjunct to already establish procedures.