Employees of two Army Reserve units – the 79th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) and the 377th Theater Sustainment Command – have recently voted to join AFGE, the largest union representing federal and D.C. government employees nationwide.
These Army Reserve employees are military technicians and civilians. The 79th has a bargaining unit of 380 while the 377th has a bargaining unit of 671. Both units’ work involves contingency operations.
The 377th TSC is responsible for providing trained and ready units and individuals in support of overseas contingency operations. The command also coordinates contingency operations ranging from presidential inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, U.N. General Assembly meetings and political conventions to complex catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and man-made disasters.
The 79th TSC is responsible for providing trained, ready, units for world-wide deployment to meet the U.S. Army’s rotational and contingency mission requirements in support of the National Military Strategy. The 79th TSC’s operational designation of Sept. 16, 2017 makes it the newest of the Army’s Theater Sustainment Commands and one of only two in America's Army Reserve.
The 377th TSC is headquartered in New Orleans, La., but has employees located throughout the Eastern United States with a small number of workers working at major ports on the West Coast.
The 79th TSC is headquartered in Los Alamitos, Calif., and has employees located throughout the Western United States.
Before the elections, employees expressed concerns about workplace safety, availability of telework, access to Tricare health insurance, workload, and resolving conflicts between civilian work and military service obligations for those who are also members of the Army Reserve Forces.
Workplace safety is an important issue. In St. Louis, for example, the Reserve Center is located is a crime ridden neighborhood. The security gate is broken and gangs hang out in the parking lot at night.
“Employees often pick up spent bullet leads as they walk from their cars to the building each morning. One showed me a mason jar full of bullet lead he had collected that he kept on his desk,” said Herve Abrams, one of the three AFGE national organizers who staffed the election campaign. “They had made repeated requests for repairs and improved security, but management only gave excuses.”
Although many of the Reserve Centers are relatively new and in great condition, in several other locations, the Reserve Centers or annexes are old and in disrepair or had mold issues. For example, one building used as an annex on Fort Totten, New York, is part of a series of buildings that have mostly been condemned and are boarded up. Although the building was renovated, lack of heat and aging infrastructure are a persistent problem.
A Kansas City Reserve Center had visible mold on a wall near the back entrance, even though the building underwent mold mediation about two years ago.
After voting for AFGE, these employees now join thousands of other AFGE members who are Reserve Forces employees in the fight for improved working conditions and job security.
“AFGE welcomes employees of the 79th and 377th TSC to the AFGE family,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “It’s an honor to have TSC employees as part of our family and fight for better working conditions for all.”