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DHS Remains on Brink of Shutdown

March 01, 2015

The agency that’s tasked with protecting the American homeland is still on the brink of a shutdown after the House of Representatives last Friday decided to fund the Department of Homeland Security for only one week instead of the entire fiscal year. The short-term funding measure runs out this Friday after midnight, sending Congress back to square one and crippling the important work of TSA, Border Patrol, ICE, FEMA, Coast Guard, FPS and other DHS agencies.

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Categories: DHS, Senate, Congress, Budget

FMLA for Feds in Same-Sex Marriages No Matter Where They Live

February 26, 2015

The Labor Department announced the rule change in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted "marriage" and "spouse" to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.

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Categories: DOL, LGBT

AFGE Takes Part in Labor Department’s Black History Month

February 26, 2015

AFGE was honored to be invited to the Department of Labor’s Black History Month celebration featuring one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced – Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. AFGE was represented by National Secretary Treasurer Eugene Hudson, Jr., Council of Prison Locals President Eric Young, and Executive Assistant to the National Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Arla J. Bentley.

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Categories: Civil Rights

GAO to DHS: Your Employee Morale Still in the Dumps

February 26, 2015

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees don’t need another threat of a shutdown to make them even more miserable. They are already the least happy group of employees in the federal government. DHS has been either at or near the bottom of every government wide employee satisfaction survey. That fact is once again pointed out by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which put this chronic problem on its annual high-risk list for 2015.

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Categories: DHS

We Need a Speed Bump, Not Fast Track

February 26, 2015

Twenty years ago, NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) was sold to Americans as a job-creating, economy-stimulating trade deal. But 20 years later, we know we have been duped. NAFTA cost the United States more than 1 million manufacturing jobs because of imports from Canada and Mexico or the relocation of factories to those countries. And now the administration and some in Congress are seeking authority to fast track international trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – which is being negotiated and modeled after NAFTA but involves 11 Asian and Latin American countries. 

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For These Married TSOs, Shutdown Comes with Double the Anxiety

February 25, 2015

Being a TSA officer is not easy. It’s a highly stressful job because a single mistake could mean life or death for hundreds of people on board an airplane. And because of their crucial mission, you’d think that TSA officers would get all the support they need to do their job, right? Well, not exactly. Congress is actually threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of TSA. And that means TSA officers will still have to work because their job is considered essential. They just won’t get paid.

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Categories: TSA, DHS

VA Suicide Hotline Documentary Wins Oscar

February 24, 2015

The VA Crisis Hotline Call Center receives about 22,000 calls every month from veterans and active-duty military members who have lost hope and are thinking about committing suicide. The center’s 275 health science specialists work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to listen to those who cry out for help. The HBO documentary, "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1," that just won an Oscar last weekend. 

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Categories: VA, Veterans

Online Registration Open for AFGE JNS Scholarship

February 23, 2015

The registration process for the AFGE John N. Sturdivant Scholarship (JNS) is open online for the 2015-2016 FEEA scholarship season. The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) is a non-profit organization devoted to helping civilian federal and postal employees through annual education based scholarships, emergency assistance and child care subsidies.

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Categories: Member Profile

Past African American Super Bowl and Academy Awards Winners

February 23, 2015

Since February is also the month where most Americans are glued to their televisions, watching two of the most highly rated television events of the year - The Super Bowl and The Academy Awards - we thought it would be fitting to highlight how African Americans have shaped these two iconic events.

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Categories: Civil Rights

Army Corps of Engineers Needs to Come Clean about Its Pilot Project

February 19, 2015

It’s a new year, and federal employees working for the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) are not sure what’s in store for them. The agency is embarking on a five-year pilot project that could involve handing over control of its locks and dams, which are vital to the nation’s security, to for-profit companies. It’s talking with industry about these possibilities but is not involving the union, whose members will be directly impacted by the project. 

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Categories: Privatization

Mass Transit Benefit Up and Permanent

February 19, 2015

A bill has been introduced to make sure that those using mass transit receive the same tax treatment as those driving to work. Rep. Pete King of New York has introduced the 2015 Commuter Benefit Parity Act, which would set the monthly transit benefit cap for both commuters and drivers at $235 a month. The bill covers all commuters, including federal employees.

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Categories: Member Benefits

This Bill Ensures Retirement Fairness for Correctional Officers

February 19, 2015

Congress needs to pass an AFGE-backed bill recently introduced that would ensure retirement fairness for correctional officers who risk the lives every single day keeping the most dangerous felons behind bars. The bill, S. 380 – introduced by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, would exempt correctional officers who retire before age 55 with 20 years of service from the federal tax law’s 10% additional tax penalty for early withdrawals from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). 

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Categories: BOP

The Veterans Have Spoken: No One Does it Better than the VA

February 18, 2015

It’s official: Since its November debut, only a handful of veterans have opted to seek care from private-sector providers under the controversial Choice Card privatization program. In fact, it has been used by just 3% of veterans who are eligible, or 27,000 veterans out of 700,000. The number is even smaller when compared with the 9 million veterans who currently use VA health care. 

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