Our History

NTEU began as a group of employees who banded together to improve their working conditions and their workplace. That is what we were from the beginning and what we remain today.

It all started back in 1938 when a group of Internal Revenue collectors organized to improve their working conditions. At the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the pay was low, the work dangerous and many had no civil service protections to protect them from the whims of political bosses. Other federal employee organizations were unwilling to represent these revenue collectors because they were in patronage positions.

Through NTEU’s persistence over decades, those workers gained civil service protection, collective bargaining rights and contract rights. NTEU transitioned from a social club to a hard-fighting, professional union that would set the standard for bargaining achievements, workplace representation, advocacy on Capitol Hill and for challenging management in the court.

Today, NTEU has grown to represent 150,000 employees from 31 different government agencies. Our mission: to help create workplaces where every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect. Over the years, we have done this by advocating for fair pay and benefits, negotiating for telework and alternative work schedules, securing back pay for workers who were improperly paid, expanding federal employees’ political rights and much more.

We are proud to represent a diverse group of federal employees who make America run. NTEU members collect the money to fund government agencies that help protect our border; ensure we have clean air and water; regulate financial services companies; make sure the airways are used in the public interest; and so much more.

NTEU continues to make history through its accomplishments even when times are tough. Whether we’re fighting on Capitol Hill, at the bargaining table and in workplaces across the country, NTEU has emerged a powerful force for federal employees. Built by a small group of Internal Revenue employees—and fortified by our members and our mission to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.