Is there any reason why Contract Investigators working (full-time or part-time) for Companies such as KeyPoint, CACI, Omniplex, or other companies working on similar Govt Contracts such as DCSA, CBP, or even the smaller Contracts with “specific Agencies,”…Unionize? It’s legal to unionize and it’s not as complicated as one might think. Unions protect the rights of workers and impact everything from wages, hours, to benefits, ect.
Many posts on this site, other sites, and statements that have been made in general about toxic work environments in this Industry are clear and factual. It seems everyone is faced with incompetent Management, lack of training or continuous training, unrealistic performance expectations, low pay, uncompensated overtime & expenses, even “quality of work” and personnel are undervalued as well as their professional experience…the list goes on and on. There are certainly common themes regarding these concerns and issues being raised by Investigators all over the country. Obviously, we all know that missing an ACD/CD, holding work in “protest,” swapping companies, filing complaints with Company HR Departments and even the Government are a waste of time.
Why don’t Contract Investigators working for KeyPoint, CACI, Omniplex, ect…unionize? The only individuals who could not be part of a Union are those directly working for DCSA as Federal Employees or other Federal Agencies, all other Contract Investigators working part-time or full-time can join unions. Afterall, Amazon and Starbucks both recently unionized. Unionizing is a way to protect “worker’s rights” which Investigators are entitled to and desperately need.
I’ve had this same question myself. Apathy and high turnover are probably the reasons. That and the fact that this job can be such very insular and isolating. It never seems that coworker collaboration within the contractor employee community is ever encouraged.
I asked about this several years ago and was told there is an Executive Order that prohibits unionization of personnel that have (potential) access to classified information. I have no idea if it is true but it doesn’t seem correct to me because we once allowed union reps to sit in on Subject Interviews.
I’ve been hearing about “unionize” since the USIS days - at least 15 to 20 years. Recently, a fellow investigator told me that they were talking to a union person and that it would be fairly easy to unionize (though that investigator got smart and got out last month). I imagine that there has to be a $ motivation for the union to get involved - and with all of the turnover, etc., maybe the numbers don’t pencil out. The contracting companies also keep us in the dark, so I don’t know how an organizer would contact BIs in the field for CACI, Peraton, Paragon, etc. I used to think “who needs a union?” but with all of the abuse and questionable management tactics, it might help us in the field.
A union would be great. Your employer will never care about you, but a union will.
The hardest part is organizing. A lot of people say they “don’t have time” or whatever other excuse. Some people have bought into the propaganda that unions are bad. It takes a lot of work to organize and form a union. Gotta have willing workers.
One of the problems I see is that there are multiple contract companies that offer the same services to the government. Since contracts are granted based upon lowest bid, non-union companies are much more likely to win future contracts. How will a union help in such cases?
All it would take is a union to bring these vendors to their knees. All that is required is one intelligent, smart, and courageous Investigator to figure out how to form a union with other like minded Investigators and that would be the end of $200.00 ESI fee rates for CI’s, paltry $25.00 hour rates for F/T experienced Investigators, and the end of unreasonable ten day due dates for national security work.
If unionizing is of interest to Investigators, it would only take one current or former employee with industry knowledge and expertise to pursue this further. Additionally, it would require Investigators to communicate with one another about unionizing which can be done effectively if given the right platform to disseminate information and voice concerns. Forming a union is not as complex as one might think.
I believe strongly as well that the threat of a possible union or even Investigators banning together across this small industry would cause immense concern to the few Contract Companies still doing this work as well as their Government counterparts.These companies might all change their names every year, talk about being “rebranded,” and provide payouts to their fancy new Investors. However, in the more than 20 years I worked in this industry…for at least the last 15 years, it has always been the same people, corrupt management, unethical tactics, false promises and propaganda, greedy investors/management cashing out on kickbacks, cash bonuses, and high dollar profit margins on the backs of hardworking, underpaid, undervalued, overworked, intelligent and dedicated Investigators who barely make minimum wage and are constantly subject to an immense amount of abuse and a toxic work environment perpetuated by leadership.
This work is critically important and if it is thrown to the curb & devalued, failures can cause catastrophic and irreversible damage to National Security. I recall a time when the “investigative product” and other services we completed on the OPM Contract and other related Contracts meant something and so did our mission, our integrity, our profession, and our contribution.
These are the reasons we should all consider unionizing and standing together in our demands for change within this industry!! We all deserve better, especially when it comes to ensuring worker’s rights.
It is legal to unionize and there is absolutely no reason that Contract Investigators (working part-time or full-time) cannot unionize. There are no barriers related to clearances, job classifications, contract companies, access to classified, NDA’s, ect that could prevent anyone from unionizing in this industry. (Federal Government employees working directly for DCSA or another Federal Government Agency (GG/GS) are the only individuals subject to different laws.)
How would you force all contract companies to hire union workers? When Walmart employees unionize, then Walmart has to accept the decision and their employees have the choice to join or not the union, but Target doesn’t have to accept the decision of Walmart employees. I am just curious since I am not an investigator, and so have no vested interest. (When I was working a side job part time as an adjunct instructor, I often thought adjuncts needed union representation.) Unless all contract companies, or at least the vast majority are compelled to hire union employees, those without union employees will win all the contracts because lower wages means ability to provide a lower bid to the government.