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AFGE Launches Campaign to Increase Public Appreciation of Federal Employees

Year-long “I Am AFGE” campaign features federal employees who make America great

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is kicking off a year-long campaign to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them each and every day.

The multi-faceted campaign, called “I Am AFGE,” launches today with the release of a two-minute video that highlights the invaluable services federal employees deliver and explains how federal employees have much in common with the citizens they are sworn to serve.

Subsequent videos will be released every three weeks, beginning March 26. These 15 short-form documentaries will highlight individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country, including caring for veterans, processing Social Security checks, researching cures for deadly diseases, cleaning up hazardous waste, guarding our nation’s prisons, and ensuring the safety of the flying public.

“Federal employees deliver programs and services that touch tens of millions of American lives each and every day, yet some folks don’t make that connection between the work that federal employees do and the benefits to the nation and individual communities,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

“The goal of this campaign is to break down the stereotypes that some folks have about federal employees and the federal government, and highlight all the great work that federal employees are doing. The best way to do this is through federal employees’ own voices.”

More than two dozen federal employees were interviewed for the campaign during AFGE’s annual Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference in February.

The videos will be posted to a dedicated website, www.afge.org/IAm, and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also will be promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.

In addition, a special toll-free phone line has been established to record and share testimonials from federal employees or citizens who value the services that federal employees provide. The number to call is 1-844-IAM-AFGE (426-2343).

“Federal employees are the most dedicated workers you could ever have the fortune of meeting. This campaign is our way of shining a light on them and reminding the public why the work that they do matters,” Cox said.

Budget Cuts Threaten Enforcement Of Job Discrimination Laws (from @AFGE)

EEOC faces employee furloughs at time of record high discrimination complaints, AFGE says

Potential budget cuts from sequestration would devastate the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s ability to enforce laws that protect American workers from job discrimination, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.

The sequestration scheduled to take place in March would slash an estimated $23 million to $30 million from EEOC’s $360 million annual budget, which amounts to a cut of between 6.5% and 8.2%. Given that the bulk of EEOC’s budget goes to pay employee salaries and expenses, EEOC would have no choice but to lay off workers without pay for extended periods of time.

“EEOC simply cannot absorb a cut of this magnitude,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This cut would cripple the agency’s ability to enforce laws that protect against workplace discrimination. EEOC cannot enforce laws without frontline staff allowed to be on the job.”

EEOC already has been suffering under the second year of an unprecedented budget cut, which has reduced its budget each year by $7 million. Because EEOC is a small and historically underfunded agency, even this “haircut” has meant the loss of 9% of the agency’s staff.

To make matters worse, these cuts are occurring at a time when workload is way up. EEOC has seen historically high charge filings during the past three years, receiving 99,412 charges of workplace discrimination in fiscal 2012 alone. EEOC continues to struggle with an unacceptable backlog of 70,312 cases and average processing times exceeding nine months.

“These extended delays represent lost opportunities for Americans who want to work.  Cutting EEOC is counterintuitive at a time when job creation is the nation’s priority, because the agency’s mission is all about jobs,” said Gabrielle Martin, president of AFGE’s National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216.

It is anticipated that, in the event of extended employee furloughs, EEOC would ensure that the intake of new discrimination complaints remained open. However, there would be no staff available to process these cases, so the backlog would skyrocket, Martin said.

“For all intents and purposes, the United States would cease to have enforceable civil rights in the workplace should sequestration occur,” she said.

AFGE represents employees on the front lines of protecting civil rights in the workplace. EEOC’s investigators, attorneys, mediators, administrative judges and other staff contribute to job creation by enforcing this nation’s civil rights laws, which protect against discrimination on the job based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age disability and now genetics.

AFGE is calling on Congress to avoid sequestration and employee furloughs in fiscal 2013. Going forward, EEOC’s budget for fiscal 2014 must be restored to at least $367 million, which would match EEOC’s operating budgets in 2010 and 2011.


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