The staff union of the Public Employees Federation was born shortly after PEF became certified in 1979. At the time, about 30 administrative staff and field representatives were working without any standards for salary, travel allowances or benefits. There was a definite need to deal with those discrepancies. In October of 1979, the field staff met at the Tarrytown Conference Center in Westchester County and, after much discussion, the staff union formed. The union, the United Field Representatives and Staff Union (U.F.R.S.U.) immediately entered into negotiations with PEF. Shortly after forming, the members of UFRSU voted for a 1 percent dues structure, demonstrating the staffs commitment to the union.

With PEF’s steady growth, there was also growth within UFRSU. The service’s PEF offered expanded and the creation of many new departments meant increased numbers to UFRSU. The positions in Research, Legal, Membership Benefits, Legislative, and Organizing, just to name a few, plus the growth in Field Services has added many administrative and professional titles to the staff union.

Since its inception, one of the goals of the staff union was to affiliate or merge, with either other independent unions or a larger International Union. After several unsuccessful attempts over the years, this goal became a reality in 1989. After almost a year of meetings, discussions and negotiations the staff union merged with the United Steelworkers of America (USWA).

The USWA originally grew out of the mass production organizing efforts initiated in 1935 by United Mine Workers’ President John L. Lewis and a group of other AFL Leaders. They formed the Committee for Industrial Organization, later the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Under an agreement with the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers (organized in 1876), Philip Murray established the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) and launched a massive organizing drive throughout the industry in 1936. Within six years, membership growth and collective bargaining progress led to the formation of an autonomous International Union at a constitutional convention held on May 222, 1942. At the time, SWOC was disbanded and the Union became the United Steelworkers of America, CIO. Upon the merge of the CIO with the AFL in 1955, the USWA became an AFL-CIO affiliate. In Canada, the Union is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

The USWA is a large Union with enormous resources available to its membership. There are currently about 700,000 members and over 5,000 collective bargaining agreements under their name. With a majority of the membership now outside the basic steel industry, the USWA is indeed a union of many faces. The rank and file membership now includes tens of thousands of administrative technical and professional employees in both the public and private sectors. The Union serves its members in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For service and representation purposes, this territory is divided into 25 Districts. District 4 encompasses the entire State of New York.

The structure, service and reputation of the United Steelworkers of America all played an important role with the staff unions decision to merge. While the International sets dues at 1.3 percent of gross salary, the needs of the staff union required dues to be set at 1.8 percent. The membership voted overwhelmingly to merge with the USWA and in November 1989, UFRSU became USWA, Local 9265.

There are currently about 100 members of USWA Local 9265. The goals today are essentially the same as they were in 1979; to deliver better wages, benefits and working conditions to each and every member.