AFGE Spotlight

Categories: The Insider

Welcome to the AFGE Spotlight! This new addition is a weekly roundup of the major actions AFGE has taken in the last week as captured by the press. Whether it’s a rally or a letter to Congress, what we do has an impact, so keep it up!

Here’s what happened the week of July 6-10:

Forcing feds to return to offices could trigger new infections, senators say: U.S. senators from Maryland and Virginia sent a letter to administration officials Thursday, July 9, warning that sending federal workers back to offices prematurely could lead to additional COVID-19 infections. “Reopening too quickly by ending maximum telework threatens to erase the progress made against the virus and endanger the health and safety of federal employees and everyone else in an agency’s region through increased community spread,” says the letter, signed by Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia. AFGE has issued a roadmap detailing 10 actions the government should take to ensure federal employees can continue to safely serve the public during the pandemic. Click here for details.

More than 1,000 TSA officers have tested positive for COVID-19: The Transportation Security Administration revealed Thursday, July 9, that more than 1,000 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, resulting in six deaths. AFGE TSA Council 100 says the rising infection rate is a result of TSA ordering employees back to work in crowded spaces without sufficient personal protective equipment. “Right now they’re bringing people back to work and the social distance is not in total effect. Employees are still complaining there’s too many of them in one area,” AFGE told the Washington Post. Read the article.

Lawmakers look to block dangerous line speed increases at meat and poultry plants: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been approving requests from meat and poultry processing and slaughter facilities to operate at dangerously high line speeds, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has infected tends of thousands of plant workers. Legislation introduced Thursday, July 9, by Reps. Marcia Fudge, Rosa DeLauro, and Bennie Thompson would protect workers and consumers by prohibiting these waivers. “Under these new ‘modernized’ meat inspection systems, line speeds are increased and federal inspectors are removed from the slaughter lines while their duties are turned over to company employees. This puts meat companies in charge of their own food safety inspections, which is a recipe for disaster,” AFGE Council 45 Acting President Paula Schelling said. Read the release.

Bipartisan legislation aims to avert CIS furloughs: Reps. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska introduced legislation Thursday, July 9, to provide U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with $1.2 billion in emergency supplemental funding to prevent the furlough of nearly three-fourths of the workforce beginning Aug. 3. Sharp declines in visa and citizenship applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in the agency losing 50% of its revenue, prompting the agency to issue furlough notices to 13,400 workers. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland sent a letter to agency leaders Thursday, July 9, detailing their deep concerns regarding the budget shortfalls and resulting furloughs. AFGE national and local union leaders will be holding a press call at 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, July 14, to discuss the impact of the furloughs and the need for congressional action. 

More online: All of our coronavirus-related letters, press releases, guidance, and more can be found online at

Click here for a roundup of links to news articles that feature AFGE and/or the issues important to us.

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