An authoritarian, foul-mouthed federal employee union chapter president at the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau was defeated by a landslide vote, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
Robert Cauldwell, who was handpicked by the National Treasury Employees Union to serve as president of CFPB’s local 335, received only 25 percent of the vote, according to a union tally dated Oct. 8 and obtained by TheDCNF.
Given Cauldwell’s falling support, all of his board allies decided not to run for re-election. CFPB employee Gail Wisely, who challenged him, received 75 percent of the union vote to be the local’s new president.
Cauldwell was widely disliked by CFPB union members for his dictatorial style and his liberal use of profanities, including a recent display of anti-Semitism toward one of his own board members.
Under Cauldwell’s reign, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which oversees federal public employee union activity, found that the National Treasury Employees Union and the CFPB chapter conducted “unfair labor practices” against its own union members.
The FLRA concluded last December that the union had given preferential treatment to a union activist over 13 other ordinary union members who faced similar grievances at CFPB.
Local board members also charged that Cauldwell and the national union leadership arranged a collective bargaining vote last year that was tainted by charges of voting irregularities and ballot stuffing.
Cauldwell was among the first top employees hired at CFPB, which was established by President Obama to fight discrimination in the financial sector. Cauldwell’s employment as a CFPB examiner began with him based in Jacksonville, Fl., in August 2011.
Cauldwell carried Obama photos with him, according to multiple union members.
In a July 13, 2015, email that was widely circulated to union executives and rank-and-file that was obtained by TheDCNF, Cauldwell used an anti-Semetic slur against Ben Konop, the local union executive vice president, calling him a “schmuck,” a Yiddish pejorative. Konop was the only Jewish member of the union board.
Wisely reprimanded Cauldwell in the email thread saying, “Your use of a Yiddish pejorative term for male genitalia against the only Jewish member of the Board is reprehensible. This is certainly not reflective of Chapter 335 nor the NTEU that we represent. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You owe Ben Konop and everyone copied on your emails below, an apology.”
Cauldwell replied, “Whatever. I have no idea what a Yiddish pejorative means but if that [is] slang for jerks we are in.”
When another union member replied that Cauldwell was acting “unprofessionally,” the union president responded, “I do not give 2 farts downwind what you think either. May the bird of paradise drop a load on you, sir.”
Cauldwell’s offensive behavior has come to the attention of Congress. Republican Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy, who is chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations, said he considers Cauldwell’s derogatory language to be “troubling.”
“It’s troubling to hear about rampant discriminatory behavior from the top down at the CFPB. Our committee will continue its investigation into these reports,” Duffy said.
Cauldwell also has been embroiled in other CFPB controversies, including charges of balloting stuffing, sharing sensitive emails with CFPB officials, and keeping union representatives in the dark about important decisions.
Forty-five union members also expressed their dissatisfaction with Cauldwell last year, according to Politico.
Since its inception, CFPB has faced a storm over the agency’s discriminatory treatment of employees based on race, sex and age.
An independent outside investigator confirmed in congressional testimony that the agency suffered from a “toxic” workplace environment for its women and minority employees.
Konop, who did not run for re-election and is a critic of Caldwell and the national union, said “the election results were a clear mandate for change within the chapter, as well as a reflection on members’ dissatisfaction with the National NTEU, as Cauldwell was closely aligned with the national union.”
Cauldwell did not respond to a request for comment communicated through CFPB’s public affairs office.
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