Management – 2008

It is an unfortunate impression maintained by some members of the Service that the Union is an anti-management organization. Although it may appear at times that the endeavors of the Union are anti-management, combating management is not the purpose of the Union but rather a manifestation of our true purpose. That true purpose is to insure the continual fair treatment of the Agent.

We would like to address this article to the members of management who are exemplary in carrying out the Border Patrol mission. There are many characteristics that make a good leader and a number of supervisors possess it all.

Being able to communicate with one’s subordinates seems like common sense when considering a good leader; however, there are those who excel in this category. Supervisors who have these communication skills express ideas in a clear, positive, convincing way. They have tact and do not engage in the practice of spreading rumors. These supervisors are honest in their communication with both the Agents and other members of management. Agents feel like they can confide in such leaders in matters professional and personal.

It is sometimes the case that an apprehension is made in the last hours of AUO and the Supervisor is expected to stay at the station until his agents are completed with the processing. The management officials who handle this sort of development in a positive manner are a real asset, not just to the Border Patrol mission but the Agents as well. No one wants to stay away from their friends and family longer than they have to, but we are here to do a job. To that end, we greatly appreciate management who accepts and appreciates the work the Agents are doing.

Another one of the traits that seems to be abundant in some members of management is a true concern for the Agents. At a minimum, a supervisor should be aware of what their Agents are doing at work. But there are supervisors that are honestly interested in the well being of their subordinates. These supervisors make an active effort to assure that the Agents are safe. Good supervisors are willing to be mentors and guide agents. Whether it is work related or a personal issue, the supervisor always gives the impression that he/she is there for the Agents. They may risk the chance of alienating themselves amongst their peers and superiors but they do not sell out on their morals.

The final characteristic is, unfortunately, the one that the Union encounters the least. That characteristic is belief in justice. Working for an agency that used to be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, it would make sense that everyone believed in this principle. Everyone should be treated the same under similar circumstances, whether they are Agents, members of management or close friends of the Chief. This is justice. Justice should not be confused with prosecution. It is not about making agents cut memos for vehicle damage and yet ignore the damage entirely when another supervisor does the same. Application of this principle, perhaps more than any other, is very much noticed by the Agents. Whether something is fair or not is the most common issue we stewards have brought to our attention. It goes past equal treatment in discipline. Fair selection to details, assignment of days off and other such behaviors are all ways that a good supervisor shows off his belief in justice.

To those members of management who bear these characteristics, we thank you. After all, we are an agency, and clearly you are aware that it takes Agents to make up an Agency.