AFGE Rally

Today, in communities across the country, working people joined together in solidarity with the federal workers who make our country run. In the face of ruthless attacks on these public servants’ fundamental economic rights, AFGE is leading the fight to defend our unions.

It’s no secret that right-wing, corporate-backed forces have long plotted to undermine the work of key government agencies. Now, they are launching a direct attack on those agencies’ employees, attempting to dismantle our union rights and basic freedoms on the job.

Today, lawyers from AFGE are taking that fight to court, and working people are taking it into the street. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us—and we simply will not stand for it.

At the rally in Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

Because here’s the truth: Throughout the entire history of our movement, we’ve never had anything handed to us. I see all the red here today and I am reminded that our movement was built on the blood of those who came before us.

We’ve fought for every victory. We stopped child labor. We brought you the weekend. We made health care more affordable and accessible. And we made the federal government a place where you can work hard, raise a family and get ahead.

Brothers and sisters, that’s why they’re coming after AFGE. You are the embodiment of what the labor movement can and should be. And they don’t like it. You organize in a right-to-work environment every day of every year. And guess what? You’re still growing. So now President Trump wants to change the rules of the game. Well, I have a message for him: Not on our watch!

Earlier, the AFL-CIO Executive Council issued a statement condemning the executive orders:

By restricting the use of official time, curtailing collective bargaining and eviscerating the due process rights of federal employees, the EOs virtually eliminate the right of federal employees to form unions and negotiate for fair treatment at work....

Federal employees swear an oath to serve this country and go to work every day to ensure our food is safe to eat, to care for veterans who were injured while serving our country, to prevent illegal weapons and drugs from crossing our borders, and to help communities recover from hurricanes and other disasters.  

The EOs would politicize the career civil service, opening it up to corruption and cronyism. They would do nothing to improve the operations of government agencies. In fact, by depriving workers of their rights to address and resolve workplace issues, they would do the opposite. Issues like sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers, workplace health and safety, enforcing reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities and so much more would be more difficult to resolve. The EOs will lead to more mismanagement, not less, create inefficiencies and hinder the ability of dedicated federal employees to deliver services to the American public in an efficient and effective manner.

The AFL-CIO will work to have these EOs declared illegal or rolled back by Congress. They represent an outrageous attack against our work, our citizens and our democracy.