Executive Council Statement

On the Passing of Ken Blaylock

The AFL-CIO Executive Council mourns the passing of our brother and friend, retired American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President Ken Blaylock.

A native of North Carolina, he began his career as a plumber at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. He joined AFGE Local 997 and rose through the ranks until his election as national president in 1976.

Blaylock’s commitment to elevating AFGE on a national and international stage was nothing short of incredible. He successfully increased diversity in the union and built relationships with leaders in the civil rights movement. He emphasized grassroots political action and, under his leadership, AFGE members were encouraged to become active in the issues of the day.

The passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was one of his greatest achievements as AFGE national president. The act expanded collective bargaining rights for government workers and created the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which protected federal employees from anti-union presidential administrations.

Ken Blaylock made life better for so many across our country, and the AFL-CIO Executive Council sends our deepest condolences to his family, friends and all the members, leaders and staff of AFGE.