David Mollett Elected District 5 NVP
Longtime union activist David Mollett of Elgin, S.C., has been elected to lead AFGE’s 5th District, representing more than 100,000 federal employees in the Southeastern United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Mollett was elected national vice president of AFGE District 5 during a special election Oct. 13 in Atlanta. He will fill the remainder of the three-year term vacated when former District 5 NVP Everett Kelley was elected AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer in August.
“I feel the delegates sent a clear message of their desire for us to get back to the past standards of unionism,” Mollett said. “My priorities include forging the bond of unity in the Fifth District and throughout the Federation.”
An Army veteran, Mollett has been a registered nurse for 41 years, serving at all levels of government and in the private sector. He has worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs for the past three decades.
Mollett has been our union’s representative for 32 years, including 22 years with the National VA Council, and currently is first vice president of Local 1915 based in Columbia, S.C.
“David Mollett is an American patriot, a practicing caregiver, and a committed union activist,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “I congratulate NVP Mollett on his well-deserved election and look forward to working with him to continue serving our members and improving the lives of all working people.”
District 5 is our union’s largest district, with more than 51,000 dues-paying members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Members work in VA hospitals, local airports, military bases, federal prisons, and other facilities serving as doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, correctional officers, mechanics, teachers, janitors, and more.
Gary Morton Elected EPA Council President
As workers at the Environmental Protection Agency continue to grapple with leadership intent on rolling back years of life-saving work and dismantling critical programs, the union representing EPA employees recently held a special election to select their new president.
Gary Morton was elected as President of AFGE Council 238, which represents more than 9,000 EPA workers nationwide, on Oct. 3. He and Executive Vice President Denise Morrison are the leadership team that will help guide the Council through the Trump administration.
“I am so honored to be chosen by my peers as Council 238’s newest President,” said Morton, formerly the president of AFGE Local 3631 representing EPA employees in Philadelphia. “Our sisters and brothers at the EPA have been under intense scrutiny and had their work come under attack the last two years, and it’s vital we stand up for all the great things we do before it’s too late.”
Morrison, who had previously served as Executive Vice President with former President John O’Grady, and served as Acting President after O’Grady retired in June, echoed Morton, saying, “The work we do saves lives – period. We’ve dedicated our careers to protecting the environment and public health, and we just want the administration to recognize our value and not dismantle the work we’ve done or the infrastructure we have in place.”
Paying it forward
Morton originally came to work at the federal government with the Internal Revenue Service, but left to join the EPA so he could, “go to a federal agency that made a positive impact on the lives of others.” He served as a local leader for Local 3631 since 2011 and joined Council 238’s Executive Board in 2015.
Morton says he first decided to join AFGE because, “The union helped me, so I wanted to help others.” He has used his role to elevate the voice of EPA workers in Region 3, serving Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
From 2009-2012, Morrison was the President of AFGE Local 907 – representing EPA workers in Region 7, serving Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska – and was elected to a three-year term on the Executive Board in 2016. Morrison says she joined EPA to, “get involved in outreach and education,” on environmental issues. And she joined AFGE in 2009 to, “be an advocate for workers’ rights, and to be a voice for employees.”
Both leaders say that when Trump was elected President and put since-departed Scott Pruitt in charge as Administrator, the morale and work at EPA changed.
“I realized federal employees were under attack,” said Morton. “And AFGE is fighting back. This is not the time to be timid. Our way of life was changing for the worse, and rather than just ask ‘what will you do about it,’ I wanted to be part of the solution,” he added.
“Right now, employees do not have the resources to do their job,” said Morrison. “We believe in the mission of the agency. These cuts and the rolling back of regulations will make it harder for employees to do what they were hired to do. Some employees have decided – and likely more will decide – they cannot work under this administration and will resign or retire. And sadly, we’ve already seen a mass exodus of those employees leaving the EPA because of it,” she added.
Going forward, Morton and Morrison are excited to lead Council 238 in the fight to protect workers and the mission of the EPA.
“We need a unified Council 238 standing together for the rights of EPA employees,” said Morton. “We are fighting for the resources necessary to allow EPA employees to protect human health and the environment for the American public.”
Read New York Times feature on Gary – E.P.A. Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email.
Read Denise’s editorial on CNN - Trump's EPA is selling out people of color