Jeffrey David Cox Sr. was elected National President at AFGE’s 39th National Convention in Las Vegas in 2012. As National President, Cox has invested heavily in growing union membership both within AFGE and among the labor movement as a whole. Since Cox first was elected to national office in 2006, AFGE has boosted its membership by more than 71,000 employees. In fact, AFGE membership has grown every year for the past decade – even in the face of hiring freezes, budget cuts and continual attacks on the pay and benefits of government workers.
Cox galvanized AFGE members in opposition to sequestration and the 2013 government shutdown, which resulted in federal employees being locked out of their jobs for up to 16 days. To seize on public support shown government workers in the wake of the shutdown, AFGE launched a year-long nationwide campaign, “I Am AFGE,” in March 2014 to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of government employees.
In September 2013, Cox convened hundreds of AFGE members at a National Leadership Conference in Orlando to chart the union’s direction for the next decade. The resulting plan, “Big Enough to Win,” is organized around four key strategies: Organizing and Growth, Legislative Mobilization, Political Strength, and Creating Strong Effective Locals.
As a nationally recognized labor leader, Cox was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Federal Salary Council and the Federal Prevailing Wage Council. He is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council and Vice President of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, serving in the latter position since 1993. Cox was unanimously elected chairman of the Executive Committee of the Department for Professional Employees (DPE), AFL-CIO. He also chairs the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council, which seeks to help veterans with employment opportunities through the VA and in the building trades.
Cox began his career in healthcare in 1970. In 1983, Cox became a registered nurse and started a public-sector career with the VA that lasted until September 2006 when he became AFGE secretary-treasurer. In 2012, Cox won the Yitzhak Rabin Public Service Award from the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center. In 2013, Cox was honored with the AFL-CIO’s At the River I Stand award, which is given annually to a national leader who has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to civil rights and workers’ rights. That year he was also honored by the Rev. Jesse Jackson with the Martin Luther King Labor Leader award. In 2014 he received the National Action Network Labor Award from the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Peggy Browning Award for Social Justice Advocacy from the Peggy Browning Foundation.
A native of North Carolina, Cox is a graduate of North Carolina’s Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and a former member of its board of trustees. He also attended Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C.