If the IRS is going to promote the Kansas City Campus fitness center as a recruiting tool, then it should be available for employees to use. When it wasn’t, NTEU Chapter 66 (Kansas City Service Center) stood up to management to get it reopened.
The fitness center was shut down at the start of the pandemic for safety reasons. But in the spring of 2021, as employees began returning to the office, it remained closed. Chapter 66 President Shannon Ellis began receiving questions and complaints from employees who wanted to use the fitness center. Although the agency ordered employees back to the office, all the amenities were not reopened, and the fitness center was one of them.
Ellis immediately reached out to management. Their response: The equipment was broken and repair parts were unavailable. Eventually, management stopped responding.
NTEU doesn’t wait around for answers, and Chapter 66 took action. The chapter filed a grievance citing a negotiated agreement holding the IRS responsible for maintaining the equipment. Ellis pointed out that the agency promotes a functioning fitness center as a benefit of working at the campus – a benefit meant to attract and retain employees. The chapter also presented to management a survey of employees who overwhelmingly responded that repairing the fitness center should be a priority.
The agency would not budge until NTEU invoked arbitration—and only then did the IRS announce the fitness center would be reopening. The chapter celebrated with a reopening party complete with NTEU-branded gym towels, water bottles and gym bags.
“It is very important to have representation in the workplace,” Ellis said. “This is a perfect example of management wasting time and money to fight against something that benefits all employees on campus.”
She added, “Without the representation from NTEU, this benefit along with many employee rights would be lost.”