AFGE and our fellow union activists have defeated an effort to ban the use of official time at the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.
Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia proposed the official time amendment the afternoon of June 10 during floor debate over the fiscal 2015 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill. Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Ed Pastor of Arizona both delivered eloquent remarks against the amendment, but House members agreed to the amendment by a voice vote.
In the hours before the bill came to the House floor, AFGE worked behind the scenes with our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA) and other unions to ensure there would be a roll call vote on the Gingery amendment. Without a recorded vote, the amendment would have been automatically included in the House version of the appropriations bill, making it much harder to remove later.
At 7 p.m., the House voted on the Gingrey amendment. The amendment was soundly defeated by a vote of 254 to 167. Sixty Republicans joined with every Democrat in opposing the amendment.
AFGE Legislative and Political Director Beth Moten credits AFGE’s members for helping to secure the victory. “Fortunately, we had a few hours heads up, and thanks to our excellent grassroots program, we were able to push back quickly,” Moten said.
With the defeat of the official time amendment, employees at Transportation, HUD and related agencies can rest assured that their union representatives will remain on the job, helping ensure fair and safe working conditions and protecting members from discrimination and unfair treatment.