Washington D.C. – Greg O’Duden, whose exemplary 39-year career protecting and expanding federal employee rights had a profound impact on American labor law, will retire as NTEU General Counsel, effective Sept. 30.
O’Duden joined NTEU in 1982 as assistant counsel and has been General Counsel since 1988. During that time, he successfully argued countless cases on behalf of NTEU members, including several at the U.S. Supreme Court, setting precedents that will benefit federal workers for generations to come.
“Whenever lawyers research case law on the rights of federal employees, Greg’s name will be there, forever linked to some of the most important legal victories in NTEU history,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “NTEU and our members are grateful for Greg’s sound legal advice and strategic thinking, which has helped guide our union on its mission to ensure all federal employees are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
NTEU, represented in court by O'Duden, won a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1995 that established a First Amendment right of federal employees to be paid by outside organizations for writing articles and delivering speeches on topics not affiliated with their federal job.
In 1999, in a case O’Duden argued for NTEU and other unions, the Supreme Court agreed that frontline federal employees, through their unions, have the right to initiate mid-term bargaining and address issues that arise during the term of an agreement without waiting for management to propose changes.
O’Duden also helped win the NTEU fight against a harmful new personnel system sought by the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. A federal appeals court sided with the union in 2006 and found that DHS employees were entitled to meaningful collective bargaining rights, ensuring DHS employees would always have a strong voice in their workplace.
And in a monumental victory that corrected years of injustice, O’Duden guided NTEU’s successful class action on behalf of workers who were wrongly denied their special salary rates between 1982 and 1988. The case restored $173.5 million in back pay for 212,000 former and current federal employees, one of the largest back pay cases in union history.
“Greg’s professional legacy will be one of tireless advocacy for federal employees and aggressive, groundbreaking legal strategy on their behalf,” Reardon said. “All of NTEU joins me in wishing Greg well in his future endeavors.”
NTEU Deputy General Counsel Julie Wilson will succeed O’Duden and become General Counsel, effective Oct. 1. Wilson has been with NTEU for 18 years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and received her law degree and a master’s in international affairs from American University.
NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and departments.