Gary Gensler Faces Union Fight Over Pay as He Moves Ahead With His Agenda
(Bloomberg) -- Gary Gensler’s bold push for new rules already has Wall Street on edge. Now, his hard-charging style is fueling a clash with some of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s own employees.
The agency’s union took the unusual step of singling out the chair by name last month, accusing Gensler of pursuing “an aggressive, anti-employee agenda” in discussions about pay and benefits. The two sides are now in federal mediation after the worker group demanded an intervention.
It’s an unwelcome distraction as Gensler is counting on the SEC’s rank-and-file to help churn out dozens of new regulations. His plans are among the most ambitious in the SEC’s 87-year history and include tackling hot-button issues like corporate disclosures around climate change and cryptocurrencies.
“I think that they can accomplish his agenda, but I don’t think the best way to accomplish that is to throw impediments” in the staff’s way, Greg Gilman, the union’s president, said in an interview. “He’s kind of a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of guy and that’s how he’s dealing with the union,” he added.
Pay and Telework
The SEC said in a statement that it will work with the union on issues like pay and telework. “While these discussions continue, SEC leadership and staff remain on track to enact reforms that will enhance efficiency and competition in our capital markets,” the agency said.
According to the union, Gensler is attempting to weaken the staff’s bargaining power by seeking to combine negotiations over two separate labor contracts -- one about compensation and another over remote work and other employee policies. The staff -- many of whom are attorneys -- are among the best paid in government, earning more than $200,000 annually.
The flap follows an August dust-up between Gensler and the worker group over the agency discontinuing a pandemic-era program that gave employees extra leave to care for dependents. Previously, as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama administration, Gensler was known for driving staff hard to write new derivatives rules and workers formed a union after he left.
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