August 15, 2018
Our members came together at the union’s 41st National Convention to elect our top three national officers.
This year during the 2018 Legislative Conference, the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments focused their programing on the importance of the judicial system in our fight for social and economic justice. Under the banner of ‘Why Courts Matter’ AFGE’s civil rights arm used its annual luncheon and workshop during the conference to highlight how the courts impact nearly every aspect of our lives.
Cecelie Counts, legislative representative at the AFL-CIO, spoke during the Civil Rights Luncheon about the history of the judicial system. She went on to talk about how some of the federal judges appointed to office often rule against the interest of working families, go to work for large corporations after federal service, all while collecting a life-long pension of their full federal salary.
This highlighted the importance of worker mobilization on not only legislative issues but the importance of who we elect in office, which in turn will influence who is nominated to serve as a federal judge for a lifetime appointment.
The conversation continued with the departments’ two-hour workshop that focused on the same topic.
At the start of the session AFGE Program Coordinator Jorae Williams asked attendees to consider the following:
The formal presentation, led by Cedric Lawson, field manager with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Anisha Singh, senior organizing director for Generation Progress, expounded on the everyday importance of our federal courts and organizing efforts around judicial appointments.
There are more than a dozen Why Courts Mater coalitions around the country, including in battleground states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Attendees were encouraged to join these efforts by contacting their senators, raising awareness, educating others, and incorporating these issues into the work they are already doing.
Our union has faced life-threatening challenges before, but these threats are different. We have politicians in the White House, the House, and the Senate who are hell bent on wiping us out. We have never had our union contracts unilaterally annulled, our union volunteers kicked out of offices, our work fighting injustice severely restricted or denied. That’s why this national convention is extremely important. The stakes have never been higher – and that's why our 41st Triennial National Convention is so important.
With all the new anti-federal employee laws, pending bills, and Executive Orders, you may feel federal employees are the sole target of politicians. In reality, these politicians have been coming after all working people for decades.