Everett Kelley is the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which is the largest union representing federal and D.C. government employees. He began his first term of service as national president in February 2020 and was elected to another term during the 42nd National Convention in June 2022.
Everett Kelley has been a member of AFGE since 1981. He worked at Anniston Army Depot and retired from there after 30 years of service.
Kelley represented Anniston employees as president of AFGE Local 1945 from 2002 to 2011. In this position, he was responsible for five bargaining units with more than 4,500 bargaining unit employees. Membership at Local 1945 more than doubled under Kelley’s leadership, growing from 1,200 in 2002 to over 2,600 in 2010.
In 2011, Kelley was elected national vice president of AFGE District 5, which is the largest district in the federation. Under his leadership, membership in District 5 membership grew from 38,000 to more than 51,000 in seven years.
Kelley was elected AFGE national secretary-treasurer in August 2018 and served in this role until becoming national president.
A native of Goodwater, Ala., Kelley attended Sylacauga High School and enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduation, serving in active duty for three years and as a member of the Army Reserves for eight years. Following his enlisted service, Kelley completed an Associate in Arts degree at Central Alabama Community College, matriculated to Selma University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology and Master of Theology at Rushing Springs School of Theology.
Upon graduation, Kelley honored his learning experience by serving as professor at Birmingham-Easonian Baptist Bible College and Rushing Springs School of Theology. He continued his education and obtained a Doctorate degree in 2016.
For his unyielding commitment to social justice, civil rights, and workers’ rights, Kelley was awarded the AFL-CIO’s Eyes on the Prize Award during the 2022 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference.
Kelley has received numerous awards recognizing his leadership and commitment to AFGE members and the labor movement, including the AFL-CIO’s Eyes on the Prize Award during the 2022 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, and the Alabama AFL-CIO’s prestigious Labor Person of the Year Award for 2022.
In August 2022, Kelley was appointed by President Biden to serve on the Federal Salary Council, an advisory body that provides recommendations to the administration on the federal employee locality pay program.
Kelley is a published author and has served on numerous boards, including the Alabama Habitat for Humanity; the Economic Development Council of Calhoun County, Ala.; the East Alabama Planning Commission; and the Association of the United States Army. He served as the senior pastor of St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln, Ala., for nearly 32 years before retiring in February 2019 and being appointed pastor emeritus.