AFGE’s Top 9 Victories in 2020

Categories: The Insider

2020 has been a challenging year for federal workers, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic but also because of the Trump administration’s continued attacks on the federal workforce. Yet together, AFGE members fought back and won many impressive victories!  

Our voices were heard loud and clear. We are reminded once again that when we stand together, we win! Here’s to even more victories in 2021! 

The highlights of this year’s victories: 

1. Two weeks of COVID-19 paid sick leave   

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law in March, provides federal employees with up to two weeks of COVID-related emergency paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members.   

2. Worker protections against COVID-19  

We were able to secure important victories during this health crisis, including expanding telework during the early days of the pandemic, expanding the use and availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep our members safe, winning the first OSHA citation in the public sector, and stopping inmate transfers at federal prisons.  

3. 12 weeks of paid parental leave  

After many years of organizing, lobbying, and mobilizing our members, we finally won 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The law took effect Oct. 1.   

4. Cancelled furloughs at USCIS  

Intense pressure from AFGE members and Congress led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to cancel its planned unpaid furlough of 13,400 employees at the end of August.   

5. Protecting workers’ due process rights  

We scored a major win for federal workers when an appeals court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs had improperly applied the 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to expedite an employee’s removal. 

6. Protecting workers’ bargaining rights  

In a major victory for AFGE members and the entire federal sector labor movement, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s attempt to limit federal workers’ bargaining rights by changing its own longstanding interpretation of the term “conditions of employment.”   

7. Protecting employees’ health and safety   

After a four-year struggle, the U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed to relocate 1,000 employees from the highly contaminated Goodfellow Federal Complex in St. Louis.  

8. Safeguarding Title 5 bargaining rights  

We successfully blocked a provision that would have stripped VA psychologists of their Title 5 bargaining rights, doubled their one-year probationary period, extended their 40-hour work week, and eliminated overtime rights.  

9. Organizing more work units  

Military technicians and civilians at two Army Reserve units voted to join AFGE this year: 671 employees at the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, headquartered in New Orleans, and 380 employees at the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, headquartered in Los Alamitos, Calif. We also won the Tripler/Schofield Barracks election. AFGE now represents 346 registered nurses in Honolulu, Hawaii. Welcome to the AFGE family! 


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