AFGE: The Vision in Review

Categories: Labor, Civil Rights

From its humble beginnings as a upstart labor organization with 562 founding members, AFGE now represents more than 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees from coast to coast and around the world. AFGE has effectively spread its message of fair pay and working conditions for government employees, building a legacy of expanded employee bargaining rights and effecting change to better the lives of federal and D.C. government workers.

AFGE has protected the merit system principles on which the civil service was founded and, in one of its greatest advances ever, put the federal contracting process on a more level playing field – reversing decades-long trends toward privatization. 

AFGE has been at the lead of every important milestone in modern American history – from the launch of the first American space shuttle, Columbia, to the picket lines for the end of apartheid in South Africa. In 1988, AFGE members elected the union’s first African-American president, John Sturdivant, who restored the union’s financial health and created a new strategic organizing model that the union still benefits from today. Our first responders were on the ground during the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Most recently, we showed up in record numbers across the country to protest the devastating effects of the 2013 government shutdown and sequestration.

These important milestones and increased visibility have translated into organizing successes, as AFGE is one of the few unions to grow in membership every year for the past decade.

AFGE has been fortunate to have had capable leadership throughout its 75 years.  As we remember our past accomplishments, we also are looking ahead to the challenges the next 75 years will present. AFGE is adopting new technology, expanding our visibility and organizing younger workers to cultivate a new generation of leadership to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

Together, our dynamic fighting spirit, our unyielding dedication to the mission of our agencies and our continuing effort at self-improvement will take us boldly into our 100thanniversary and beyond.

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