AFGE’s newly-elected National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices is already making history in his new role.
Jeremy Lannan, former AFGE activist and organizer, was elected to the national position at AFGE’s 41st National Convention in August. At 40 years old, he is the first openly gay person and one of the youngest members to hold an AFGE national position.
Lannan first attended the AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work Convention in 2012 before coming out. This year he attended Pride at Work as a keynote speaker and addressed attendees sitting where he was once.
He remembers walking away from the 2012 convention feeling confident in being his true, authentic self – a confidence he has carried all the way to a leadership role in his union.
Lannan joined AFGE Local 1438 soon after being hired as a clerk at the U.S. Census Bureau in 1997.
“My grandmother raised me, and she was a union woman,” he said. “When she found out I was going to be working for the federal government and we had a public-sector employee union, she urged me to join.”
Years later, Lannan decided to become a union steward and later was elected as the Fair Practice Coordinator for both his local and council. Lannan was then elected to serve as AFGE’s National Fair Practices Affirmative Action Coordinator for the 6th District— serving employees in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Lannan explains that after being targeted by management, he made the decision to take a leave of absence from the federal government after completing 17 years of service as a Census Bureau employee.
“The agency started to come after my job, so I filed a retaliation complaint,” said Lannan. “I knew the reason they were coming after my job was because I was exercising my right to help other employees exercise their rights.”
“I am my sister’s keeper”
Upon taking his leave of absence from the Census Bureau in 2015, Lannan became an AFGE national organizer— signing up new members and contributing to AFGE’s record 27 consecutive years of membership growth. He has participated actively in AFGE’s Y.O.U.N.G. and Pride programs, representing under-40 and LGBTQIA members, respectively – providing him a platform as a young leader for his voice to be heard.
“I am happy that I’m able to use my voice to make sure other people are being heard and that they have a seat at the table,” Lannan said to the Pride at Work attendees.
In his new role, he will oversee AFGE’s Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, which promote civil, human, and workers’ rights for the more than 700,000 federal and D.C. government employees represented by AFGE.
On being the first man to hold the position of National Vice President for the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, Lannan says, “I am my sister’s keeper. As a brother in the movement, I will advocate for my sisters to make sure their voices are heard, and I will shut down any type of gender discrimination that comes my way.”