AFGE is now the exclusive representative to more than 2,200 employees at the Defense Health Agency (DHA) headquarters after winning an election to represent both non-professional and professional employees.
This is a big win for our union because the DHA headquarters unit is spread out across the country and is mostly remote. The hurdles in organizing a dispersed workforce, working from home, who mostly don’t know each other, are significant.
AFGE welcomes DHA employees to the family. We are committed to making DHA a better place to work for our members.
Until recently, DHA was a relatively new, relatively small agency of only a few thousand civilian health care workers at military hospitals in the D.C. metro region who worked for the Department of Defense.
But DoD is transferring health care workers from different components to DHA, and once this transfer is completed later this year, DHA will be home to about 65,000 civilian employees working on medical and research matters across the Navy, Army, and Air Force.
AFGE Membership and Organization Director David Cann credited the NOW Organizing model for the union election win. The NOW Organizing model relies on one-on-one conversations on the issues that matter to workers.
“We visited hundreds of workers at home and got them to commit to building a union based upon their own interest,” Cann said. “They talked about building power and having a voice on the job. The DHA workers got engaged based upon the individual issues they cared about.”
AFGE also used Broadstripes, a mega database with all bargaining unit members’ info, to track the progress of the election campaign and record who we talked to and what their level of support was, among other information. Using Broadstripes, we were able to target 80% of the workforce with personalized texts, flyers, links, and emails.
“As a result of all that tracking work, we had a clear picture of where the campaign was at any given point, and we were able to assess our level of support within the union based upon location, position, tenure, and more,” Cann added. “During the seven months of the campaign, we shifted focus based upon our assessments of where attention was needed.”
Headquarters employees are the first group of DHA employees who will hold union elections from now until October.
If we win more elections, we could represent tens of thousands of new workers in the coming months.
Interested in using Broadstripes?
Contact M&O Department to get Broadstripes for your local’s organizing needs. This crucial tool is available to your local now for free.
Local action needed
AFGE Locals Need to Act Now to Ensure Representation of Transferred Defense Health Agency Employees