NVP Harrison spent nearly three decades of his career in the Army – the first 17.5 years as a military intelligence service member and the rest as a civilian explosive operator at Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas.
It was at the arsenal that he got involved in his AFGE local. At the time, the agency misclassified several workers, including NVP Harrison. His local filed a grievance, but an article of the contract was not included, and so they lost the case. The frustration that the grievance was not handled properly led him to become more involved with his local, Local 953.
He started training to become a steward. He credited his mentors – National Rep Jesus Sanchez, the late great Legislative and Political Organizer Fred McDuff, and former NVP Michael Kelly – for helping him learn the ropes and progress.
NVP Harrison made his way up through the ranks to become chief steward, then executive vice president, and then acting president when the local president left. In 2015, he was hired as District 9’s national representative and held that position until his election to become NVP. Prior to being NVP, he also served as vice chair of the Army Caucus for DEFCON for two years.
As NVP for District 9, his focus would be on preparing for future fights and empowering locals.
“We went through a period of stagnation just trying to survive under the previous administration, and we learned a lot. We were fighting for our survival,” he said. “My goal is to support and create infrastructures within the locals to make locals stronger and to create a foundation from which we can continue to grow.”
NVP Harrison is currently in law school. When he served as national rep prior to being elected NVP, he felt he needed a skill set to match what the agency attorneys brought to the table.
“I want to get progressively better at what I did in my craft as a national rep, and it seemed like being an attorney to match other attorneys was the goal,” he explained.
“My basic premises,” he added. “We have to get back to our basic building blocks of what unions do – organize, represent, and amass political power so we can have an impact and protect workers in the workplace.”
District 9 represents federal employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.