3 Takeaways from NP Kelley’s Remarks at Virtual Democratic National Convention

Categories: The Insider, Election 2020

AFGE National President Everett Kelley Aug. 17 took part in the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention’s Labor Council discussion, explaining why AFGE members support former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in this year’s presidential election. 

The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped our country and events including this year’s DNC, which was held online for four days from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20 and streamed live from the DNC’s website.  

The DNC Labor Council discussion was a good opportunity to come together as unionists and allies and to look at the convention and society from the labor perspective. This is important. As DNC Labor Council President Stuart Appelbaum said, “The Democratic Party did not create the labor movement. The labor movement created the Democratic Party.” 

During the discussion, NP Kelley talked about the attacks on federal and D.C. government workers the past four years and why it’s crucial we elect a true supporter of working families this November. 

Here are 3 takeaways from Kelley’s remarks: 

1. Trump wants federal workers to be loyal to him, not the Constitution  

Kelley said he started working at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama 39 years ago, and just like other federal workers, he took an oath that starts like this: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...” 

“It is precisely because we uphold our oath that Donald Trump is waging war against federal employees. He wants federal workers to be loyal to him, not to the Constitution,” Kelley said. “He wants to turn the professional civil service into a patronage racket. He wants to substitute independent expertise with propaganda. He wants government workers to serve his own interests, not the American people.” 

2. The Biden-Harris Administration will roll back the assault on government workers 

The Biden-Harris Administration will treat civil servants with respect, and will make decisions based on science and expertise, not politics. “Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have long championed the independent civil service. They’ll uphold the rule of law. They’re devoted to our democracy. And their allegiance to the Constitution and the American people is beyond reproach,” Kelley said.  

3. AFGE members will work hard to win in November and undo the damage Trump has done 

AFGE members are hardworking women and men who care for our veterans, prepare and support our military, send out Social Security checks, keep our food safe, clean our environment, stop terrorists from boarding airplanes, guard our prisons and borders, and protect workers from injuries and illnesses on the job. 

The proud members of AFGE will work tirelessly with all of you to win in November. And then our work will really begin: To undo the damage Trump has done to working families and to our democracy. And to rebuild a robust public sector that beats this pandemic, provides economic security to all, and solves America’s problems,” he said. “Our democracy’s survival depends on the proud members of my union, AFGE, the American Federation of Government Employees. Like a third of federal employees, I’m a veteran myself. Unlike Trump, we treat our oath as sacred.” 

Watch the DNC Labor Council discussion here

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