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 Steward
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
Charleston, CA (CPC)

More information to come

Ryan GalleraniRyan Gallerani
Passport Specialist
Dallas, TX


I am excited to represent NFFE1998 as their Secretary-Treasurer! I have over 7 years of experience working in passports and 3 as a Union Representative. Prior to that, I worked in a bank and spent over 2 years Morocco with the Peace Corps. In the Peace Corps I created and ran multiple summer camps, environmental projects, and other events with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. I am happily married and have an amazing 2 year old daughter and 1 more on the way. My wife is an Auditor at a financial institution so I am already expected to meet a high standard regarding my book keeping. We have 2 rescue animals, 1 Pitbull mix and 1 cat. I am a graduate of Baylor University with a double major in history and philosophy, so critical thinking is a constant for me. I regularly commission fantasy football leagues and apply my excellent clerical skills to this pastime as well. I have a vast knowledge of films, but my favorite genre is science fiction. My wife has informed me that I am a nerd, but in an endearing way… I think.

Jason Vick
Passport Specialist
Seattle, WA

Jason started as a Passport Specialist in 2010 through the Pathways Program. Prior to this, he worked as a contractor in the Fraud Program. In 2017, Jason became a Steward in the Seattle Passport Agency, and then served as the Senior Steward in starting in January of 2018 and part of 2019. In August 2019, he was appointed as the Recording Secretary after Lee Wentz became President. Following the 2019 elections, Jason retained the Recording Secretary position and has continued in his role as a National Officer. When not taking minutes and managing agendas, he is constantly reviewing and analyzing data in support of NFFE BUEs and improving our workplace. When he is not adjudicating or representing, Jason loves to spend his time with his wife and daughter exploring parks in the Pacific North West and Hawaii. He can probably be found in the forest, building something for his wife, or enjoying the wonders of raising a four-year-old.

HaleyHaley Larkin
Passport Specialist
Tucson, AZ

Haley joined Passport Services in 2017 through the Pathways Program only a few weeks before the lengthy hiring freeze under Secretary of State Tillerson.  She completed her Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from American University that same year and was converted to a full time employee. Prior to working for the Department of State, Haley was a high school English teacher in Adapazari, Turkey for three years where she met her husband and the first of her two cats. Haley joined the Union in 2018 as a local steward at the Western Passport Services. Early on, she volunteered to work as the local’s Communicator to increase the information flow from the National Officers to every BUE, and back up the chain. In late 2020, Chief Steward John Kaucher achieved a very deserved promotion within the Passport Services and Haley was asked to step in as Chief Steward for the remainder of the term. She is honored to have the  opportunity to serve not only as a National Officer, but as the Chief Steward for Local 1998.