Augusta Y. Thomas was elected to her third consecutive term as National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices (NVP) at AFGE’s 40th National Convention in Orlando in August 2015. She was first elected to this role in August 2009 and was re-elected to another three-year term in 2012.
In this role, Thomas’ primary mission has been to expand the department's training program on Equal Employment Opportunity issues. Prior to attaining national office, Thomas served more than 42 years in positions of local and regional leadership.
Thomas began her career in the federal government in 1966 as a nursing assistant at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Louisville, KY, where she joined AFGE on her first day on the job. As leader in her Local, Thomas served in positions of treasurer, secretary, chief steward, executive vice-president and president. Thomas was one of the union’s original district fair practices coordinators. Since then, she has been reelected continually as the AFGE national fair practices affirmative action coordinator for Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky (District 6).
In recognition of her work on civil, human, and workplace rights, AFGE’s 6th District developed an award named in her honor, the Augusta Thomas Humanitarian Award, which is awarded every three years to an AFGE member. Thomas has also been recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky for her efforts to promote racial equality and economic development, declaring April 4th as Augusta Thomas Day.
A native of Kentucky, Thomas was born in a “shotgun” house, so named because you could fire a shotgun through the front door and the blast would go straight through the backdoor without hitting a wall. At the age of 13, Thomas moved to Atlanta, GA, where she was a classmate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., known then as “Little Martin.” After graduating Central Colored High School in Louisville, Thomas attended Clark University in Atlanta and Homer G. Phillips School of Nursing in St. Louis.
Thomas has 9 children, 11 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.