What is NFFE 1998?

About IAMAW, FD1, NFFE Local 1998

NFFE Local 1998 is a federal employees union that represents about 1300 bargaining unit members of Passport Services, which is part of the Department of State‘s Bureau of Consular Affairs. We are the “exclusive representative” of the employees, which means that we are the only labor union that can speak on their behalf. We are limited to only representing members of the bargaining unit – employees such as Passport Specialists, Contact Representatives, Processors and Operations Officers – and cannot represent Management officials or confidential employees, such as a Director’s secretary, or contractor employees. NFFE Local 1998 represents the employees in every Passport Services office – 28 offices in cities across the nation (and growing).

Local 1998 is one of approximately 200 locals that make up the National Federation of Federal Employees, which is the oldest Union representing federal workers. NFFE Came into existence in 1917. NFFE’s motto is “We Work For America Everday”. In 1999, NFFE affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), and thus became a part of the AFL-CIO. IAMAW members are sometimes called “the fighting machinists” because in the late 19th century the IAMAW was the first union to negotiate nine hour days for its members (down from the ten hour workdays standard at that time). The IAMAW is part of the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Local 1998 is committed to representing its members and the employees of Passport Services. The Local 1998 Bylaws state that the goal of the Union is “to promote the social and economic welfare and education of Local members and to work toward the perfection of systems that will make for greater efficiency in the various services of the Government.“

Where is NFFE 1998 Located?

NFFE 1998 is everywhere! NFFE Local 1998 is a “local” in name only. Local 1998 is one of a very small number of NFFE locals that are not geographically local, but rather spread across multiple locations. Local 1998 represents the bargaining unit employees in all Passport Services offices – 29 offices total in 26 cities. They include the Paralegals in Legal’s Law Enforcement Office, a variety of positions at the Office of Technology Operations and the Special Issuance Agency in Washington, DC, as well as the Passport Agencies and Centers in: Vermont, Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Charleston, SC; Connecticut; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; Honolulu, HI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Aurora, CO; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; New Orleans, LA; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portsmouth, NH; Tucson, AZ; San Diego, CA, Buffalo, NY, El Paso, TX, Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.

NFFE Local 1998 History

NFFE Local 1998 came into official existence on October 19, 1981 when it was recognized as the exclusive representative of Passport Services’ bargaining unit employees by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) in Case No. 3-RO-98. During the 1980’s, Local 1998 negotiated three collective bargaining agreements (CBA’s) with Passport Services Management (1983, 1985, and 1986). Management attempted to decertify Local 1998 in 1989, but the Union prevailed in 1990.

In 1991, the Union negotiated another CBA with Management. During the 1990’s, NFFE Local 1998 filed grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges on health conditions, respect shown to employees, reprimands issued to employees, promotions, evaluations, union dues deductions, and employees’ addresses. In late 1993, the Union initiated discussions with Management to create a Partnership, based on the Executive Order signed by President Clinton. The parties met in 1994 and again in 1995, finalizing an agreement. In 1998, Local 1998 resumed newsletter distribution, and created this website. In 1999, Local 1998 voted for NFFE to affiliate with the IAMAW.

In 2001, the Union and Management completed their 5th CBA. During the remainder of the decade, Local 1998 negotiated via traditional bargaining and through partnership with Management, and filed grievances and Unfair Labor Practice charges, on work schedules, promotions, evaluations, performance standards, leave, official time, facilities, dignified treatment for employees, disciplinary actions, dues deductions, overtime, and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In 2003, Local 1998 reluctantly took the unprecedented step in the history of the local by contacting Congress over concerns with the integrity of the passport issuance process, including strict passport adjudication quotas. The GAO and the OIG issued critical reports and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the issue. As a result of the Union’s efforts, a major vulnerability in the passport issuance process was closed. Local 1998 also supported legislation requiring passport book security features be manufactured within the US as a security best practice. On July 20, 2009 the Union and Management completed their 6th CBA.

Colin Walle became the first Local 1998 rep to be elected a national Vice President of the National Federation of Federal Employees. NFFE 1998 submitted written testimony for the 2010 Senate hearings that followed a second GAO fraud detection.


Who Represents NFFE Local 1998?

PresidentVice PresidentSecretary TreasurerRecording SecretaryChief StewardWebmasters
Lee Wentz
Passport Specialist
Philadelphia, PA

Lee’s career at the Department of State started in 2007 as a Passport Specialist at the Philadelphia Passport Agency.  In 2010 Lee became a member of NFFE1998 and unexpectedly won the role of Senior Steward at the Philadelphia Passport Agency that same year.  Three years later Lee ran for the NFFE1998 National Recording Secretary position and lost.  But fortunately, there was an open Trustee position that Lee was able to fill in order to stay involved at the National Level.  The year 2016 saw Lee again seeking the vote of his fellow members for the NFFE1998 National Recording Secretary position. But alas, once again it was not meant to be.  Fortunately, Lee was able to stay involved at the National Level as a part of the National Collective Bargaining Agreement Team.  As we know things are never static within the ranks of NFFE1998.  In 2018 Lee was appointed to the position of Recording Secretary to finish the term of the National Recording Secretary as the recording secretary was moving on to a new role within the department.  The year 2019 brought an unexpected change to the President and Vice President positions for NFFE1998.  And with that Lee was promoted to the position of Vice President and then President for the remainder of the year.  And it is with great pleasure to say that the most recent NFFE1998 election found Lee carrying enough votes to become your President until 2022.

Boyd Hinton
Passport Specialist

More information to come

Brianne Martinen
Passport Specialist

More information to come

Jonah Baker
Passport Specialist

More information to come


Richard Phelps
Passport Specialist
PPT/New York

I’m originally from Suffolk County, Medford, NY. I received my BA in Political Theory and Postmodern American literature from the State University at Albany in 2008 and my MA in Work and Labor Policy in 2022 and also became a recipient of the Rosa Parks Scholarship. After completing my undergrad education, I served as a Peace Corps education volunteer in the country of Zambia from 2012 to 2014 where I taught English as a second language and established a library at the local primary school that I volunteered for and assisted other NGOs to help with the installation of electricity and running water for several local villages.

I joined the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Passport and Visa Services, August 2015. I was elected to the local union steward position at the New York Passport agency in 2018. Under my stewardship, I’ve successfully fought to establish a new dress code policy and the agency’s first local duty officer policy and a local seating agreement. Additionally, I have also established a morale committee with the agency and removed a past practice outlawing a “No talking” policy at the office. With the help of President Lee Wentz and VP Boyd Hinton and the National Officers, I have elevated sensitive topics and issues to Department officials at the Directorate level and OIG to address local auditing procedures, training practices, discrimination and unethical conduct involving local couriers at the New York Agency.

I’ve advocated for myself in an EEO case that involved the New York Passport Agency in a retaliation case against me for providing union consultation and assistance to bargaining unit employees. The case was adjudicated by the U.S. EEOC Commission, whereby the outcome was in my favor.

In 2022 I was a co-advocate for the local by assisting VP Boyd Hinton in writing a position brief paper for the WSL arbitration case. The case involved whether the Agency violated the Parties Master Agreement, laws and or regulations and policy when it changed the Weather and Safety Leave rights for bargaining unit employees without completing bargaining with the Union which resulted in the union prevailing in this case. As of 2022, I was appointed to serve as the Chief Steward for NFFE Local 1998.

During my personal time, I enjoy a good gin martini with a cigar. Most importantly, I love spending time with my family and friends and learning new things.