Help Promote USDA’s Summer Free Lunch Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides free or reduced price lunches to 22 million children during the school year through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). In the summer, the program reimburses organizations that serve children meals at feeding sites. Churches, schools, camps, recreation centers, playgrounds, and parks in neighborhoods with high percentages of low income families can provide summer meals to children.

USDA wants AFGE’s help in spreading the word about NSLP throughout your communities. The goal is to help make a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged children by promoting participation in the Summer Meals program and making the community aware of its benefits.

To learn more about USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and how you can help publicize it to your community, please visit http://www.afge.org/index.cfm?contentID=3304.

Have You Been Affected by Furloughs? We Want to Hear From You!

More than 700,000 federal government employees will experience up to a 20 percent pay cut due to forced furloughs. Are you an AFGE member affected by furloughs?  We want to hear from you about how furloughs are affecting your family, your life, and your community. Please click here to share your story with us and have your voices heard. If you would like to submit a photo with you entry please email it to afgecommsquad@gmail.com.

Please be sure to include your name, location, the federal agency you work for and your AFGE local number. So many of our members have shared their experiences and we want to hear from YOU!

AFGE Members Provide Assistance to Their Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Superstorm Sandy Aftermath

Hurricane SandyAFGE was founded on the principles of brotherhood and sisterhood and, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the union has portrayed just that.

While many AFGE members are attempting to regain some normalcy after the storm, others have banded together to provide assistance to their brothers and sisters affected by Superstorm Sandy.

AFGE’s National Executive Committee pledged to match the first $25,000 donated to the Federal Employee & Education Assistance Fund’s (FEEA) AFGE Relief Fund. FEEA is a nonprofit whose mission is to help federal employees with scholarships, child care assistance and emergency assistance. Donations can be made directly via secure network at https://secure.feea.org/np/clients/feea/donation.jsp?campaign=19. You can contact FEEA directly at (800) 323-4140 or by emailing fedshelpingfeds@feea.org.

“A natural disaster of this size is hard to imagine, and months later countless people—many of whom are federal employees—are still without help,” AFGE National President J. David Cox said. “If AFGE can help even one person, it’s worth it. I know, though, that our members will come through big to help our brothers and sisters in need.”

AFGE members also have taken the initiative to assist those in need. Boston Social Security Local 3760 donated home improvement gift cards to two Local 1760 members whose homes were damaged by the storm.

“It was just our way of saying we’ve got your back,” said Kevin Griffin, Local 3760 president and National Vice President of Council 224.

Veterans Affairs Local 1119 in New York also hosted a two-week clothing, canned goods, and toiletries drive in conjunction with the Red Cross.

AFGE’s District Two, which covers members in New York and New Jersey (in addition to Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island), has been a great source of information for AFGE members and all federal employees. For details on health and safety issues, government assistance, etc., please visit the District 2 website at http://www.afge2nddistrict.org.

Thank you, AFGE activists!!

AFGE activists, including both AFGE members and staff, worked tirelessly this election cycle in an effort to bring about the best election outcome for federal employees.  Their hard work paid off on Tuesday night when President Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States and when numerous candidates who support unions and federal employees won their races.

Activists, led by the AFGE political action team, were especially effective after Labor Day and campaigned on the ground and out of AFGE offices.  AFGE activists made over 75,000 phone calls to members in targeted states from phone banks at headquarters and across the country and walked doors in key battleground states.

The AFGE Political Action team sent over a half a million pieces of mail to AFGE members in targeted states and held TeleTown Halls with almost 5,000 AFGE activists in key states during the closing weeks of the election. They conducted an aggressive online program through home emails, Facebook and other social media outlets.  Close to two million emails were launched to the home emails of AFGE members since Labor Day. The AFGE team also produced 8 different videos to inform, inspire and mobilize members.

This was the most aggressive election mobilization AFGE and the political action team have ever undertaken and IT WORKED!

Great job AFGE members and staff!

President Cox Joins Union Volunteers in Labor Walk for Elizabeth Warren Campaign

IMPORTANT: You may view this post using your home email on your personal computer, smart phone, or other electronic device when not on government property. BUT, this information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time, or sent to others using government equipment, because it involves taking an election related action and could be a violation of the Hatch Act.

Calling the election of Elizabeth Warren vital to the strength of the federal workforce, J. David Cox  Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), was in Massachusetts Saturday to “walk, knock and talk” to help Warren in her bid for the U.S. Senate. Many other union staffers and volunteers from AFGE and the Greater Boston Labor Council joined President Cox.

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AFGE HOLDS FIRST Y.O.U.N.G. TRAINING SUMMIT

The very first   Y.O.U.N.G.  (Young Organizing Unionists for the Next Generation)  AFGE  Training Summit was held August 11th & 12th in Las Vegas in conjunction with AFGE’s 39th National Convention.    Over 200 young union members and seasoned mentors came together to find empowerment, education and inspiration to be true leaders and activists to secure the future of AFGE and the Labor Movement.  The theme for the training summit was “Connecting the Dots”. The summit was designed to show that everything working Americans are experiencing right now is not unintentional and each attack we are facing is an individual dot that creates a very ugly picture for our future.

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The summit began with a welcome from Augusta Y. Thomas, NVP for Women and Fair Practices and the newly elected President, J. David Cox, Sr.  Both gave compelling welcome speeches to reinforce the need to get young workers involved and engaged in AFGE.  They also heard from a member of the Nevada State AFL-CIO’s “Young Organized Union Representatives” (Y.O.U.R.).  The participants learned about the state of the union, voter protection and the political outlook.  They also heard from a panel of experts regarding discrimination, LGBTQ issues/transgender health benefits, attack on immigrant workers and the war on women…all issues that connect us to each other’s struggle.  They ended their first day of training with a happy hour and after party.

On the second day, participants took a walk through labor union history; they learned that if we remember the strength of the Labor Movement from the past we can make a difference today.  Participants were able to choose from four educational breakout sessions: AFGE 101, Organizing Young Workers, Leadership Roundtable, and Political Outlook.  They were given time to visit the AFGE Convention Exhibit Hall to learn about all of the different departments of AFGE.  They ended the weekend with an empowering speech from Lucas Neff, actor from the hit TV show “Raising Hope” and young union activist from SAG-AFTRA and comedian Lee Camp.

Registered participants received innovative and updated “young” trinkets, such as a graphic t-shirt showing the Eiffel tower, a sleek black portfolio bag, a flash drive silicone bracelet, packs of gum and a pin and pen all emblazoned with the vibrant new Y.O.U.N.G. logo.  There was so much interest in these items that they will soon be available to purchase online. The flash drive that participants received was preloaded with important information from the summit and some other fun AFGE extras.

The recent attacks on unions makes it harder to recruit young workers, most of who don’t even know that the unions brought them sick leave, weekends, paid vacations, and so on.  This training summit taught the 200+ participants that young workers are a part of this movement and have to continue to fight for it.

Participants have expressed their eager anticipation of the upcoming Y.O.U.N.G.  events; the Y.O.U.N.G.  Political meeting at the AFGE’S Legislative Conference and the Mentor/Mentee orientation being planned for February 2013; and the next Y.O.U.N.G.  AFGE training summit already being planned in conjunction with next year’s Human Rights Training Conference in Pittsburgh in August 2013.

AFGE Defends Democracy works to stop voter suppression

AFGE Defends Democracy is the voter protection arm of AFGE. AFGE Defends Democracy’s goals are to educate voters about voting laws in their states and to recruit volunteers to assist voters on Election Day in key states. Volunteers will play a role in the AFL-CIO voter protection program which will target Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada. Severe attacks on the right to vote are expected in these states.  

To read more about AFGE Defends Democracy and about voting laws in your state, check us out on the blog, on Twitter or on Facebook.

To learn more about volunteering to be a poll worker or poll monitor on Election Day, click here.

Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO’s “Salute to Leadership” dinner honors AFGE President John Gage

AFGE President Gage was recently honored at the annual “Salute to Leadership” dinner sponsored by the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO. Gage was in the company of several notable leaders in the local community at the dinner, such as Maryland Senator Ben Cardin; Loretta Johnson, the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers; Ernie Grecco, the President of the Baltimore Central Labor Council; and several other dignitaries.

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AFGE Local President Helps Launch DC Website

Eric Bunn, AFGE LP 2725, at the launch of Grade.DC.Gov.

Washington, D.C. has introduced a new website that allows the city’s to voice their comments and concerns about city services.  The website, Grade.DC.Gov , allows DC residents to offer feedback on selected city agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Eric Bunn, president of AFGE  Local 2725 and president of Council 213, which is composed of DC agency locals, applauds the new reporting system. He attended a press conference at the mayor’s office to help launch the new website.  Local 2725 represents employees at several  D.C. agencies including the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of Environment and the Department of Housing and Community Development.  D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Department of Health (DOH), Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) and DC Housing Authority (DCHA).

“This new system provides an opportunity for D.C . Government  unions to work closely with management on initiatives that impact city services,” said Bunn. He also said the city has learned the importance of including union representation on other initiatives that have an impact on DC workers due to the city’s recent disputes with DC’s labor unions over furlough and ethics policy issues.

AFGE 14th District Vice President Dwight Bowman said he shares Bunn’s hopes that the new system will show that government workers share a commitment to better public service. “Our members are dynamic public servants with a commitment to serve the District of Columbia,” Bowman said.

Hundreds rally in front of White House demanding an end to the discriminatory downgrade of VA employees

Hundreds of protestors packed Lafayette Square on Wednesday for AFGE’s rally against the discriminatory downgrade of VA employees. In an event that took activists from the steps of the Department of Veterans Affairs building to the shadow of the White House, protestors from more than 20 states marched and called for a moratorium on the arbitrary position downgrades, as well as the resignation of John Sepulveda, the assistant secretary for Human Resources and Administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs and head of labor-management relations. AFGE National President John Gage spoke about his dealings with the agency and trying to make his grievances known. He talked about how he was continually met with broken promises and outright “lies” from Sepulveda, resulting in the large crowd erupting in chants demanding Sepulveda to resign from his position.

“VA employees take care of the troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and from other parts of the world where they are deployed, and they do a tremendous job supporting them,” said Dwight Bowman, AFGE’s District 14 National Vice President. “But in order for them to be able to do the job, they have to have decent pay just like everybody else because they have families to support. They are just an integral part of everything that goes on.”

The downgrades are targeting the lowest pay grade levels within the agency, but the agency has failed to prove that they will improve the functionality or finances of the VA. Activists argued that these potential cuts could mean the difference between workers being above or below the poverty line.

“We want to make the community aware, make the country aware, and certainly get the attention of the Veterans Administration in that we’re not going to stand by and let them cut the bottom of the pay scale,” said Colleen Stewart, a VA nurse from Salisbury, N.C.

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