The Women's and Fair Practices Departments are devoted to promoting the civil, human, women's and workers' rights of federal and D.C. government workers. The departments support and implement the priorities of AFGE in four program areas that include: education and training, member mobilization and organizing, legislative/political action, and representation through litigation.
WFP offers virtual and in-person EEO training courses at the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level, in addition to specialized courses in EEO Writing and Reasonable Accommodations.
In collaboration with AFGE’s Field Services and Education Department, WFP offers online EEO courses about WFP, federally protected classes, processes and timelines, diversity and inclusion, theories of discrimination, burdens of proof, remedies in EEO matters, DC protected classes, and DC filing processes and deadlines. Check out these online EEO courses.
WFP hosted a virtual WFP Coordinator Training over two nights, including Coordinator Training I: Women’s and Fair Practices Coordinators, and Coordinator Training II: Y.O.U.N.G. and PRIDE Coordinators. The Coordinator I Training was facilitated by NHRC members and the Coordinator II Training was facilitated by national Y.O.U.N.G. coordinators and local PRIDE coordinators.
Our Annual Sister’s Summit brings together the women of AFGE and their allies from across the country for three days of workshops, roundtable discussions, strategic planning sessions, panels and more to address the issues women face at work and in the union.
WFP hosted our 2022 Human Rights Training Conference, featuring our 3rd Annual Sister’s Keeper Summit at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans in August.
From August 5-7, we hosted our 3rd Annual Sister’s Keeper Summit in New Orleans ahead of our 2022 Human Rights Training Conference, bringing together the women of AFGE and their allies to celebrate sisterhood and solidarity over three days of workshops, action planning sessions, panels, and more.
We offered six Sister’s Keeper Workshops, including the following:
Sexual Harassment Workshop - This workshop will provide an introduction to sexual harassment and how to fight it! Our WFP attorneys will define sexual harassment, provide an overview of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sexual harassment and provides recourse for employees who have been subjected to sexual harassment, and outline the process through which federal employees can file a complaint of discrimination through the EEO process if they have been subjected to sexual harassment and Hostile Work Environment.
Racial Trauma and Stress Workshop - Racism and race-based discrimination can be traumatizing — emerging out of the confluence of historical, cultural, and individual traumatic experiences. Experiences can have detrimental psychological impacts on not only individuals and their wider communities. This workshop introduces the concept of racial trauma among communities of color. People of color experience ongoing acts of prejudice as well as systemic inequities based upon race and discrimination. Through this training, participants will learn about what the latest scholars and researchers have to say about racism and the subsequent racial trauma that impacts overall mental health and wellbeing for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) persons living in the US.
Lobbying and Mobilizing Around Women’s Issues Workshop - Join District 10 Legislative & Political Organizer Shannon Faulk to get practical knowledge and tools to lobby and mobilize around women’s issues like violence against women, and more.
Sister’s Keeper Circle - The purpose of this workshop is to foster sisterhood and solidarity through conversation and open-dialogue about the experiences of AFGE women and their allies in the federal and D.C. government, in the union, and in the broader community.
Yoga and Meditation Workshop - The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to basic yoga and meditation practices. Please dress in comfortable clothes and shoes. No yoga or meditation experience is necessary.
Art Therapy Workshop - The purpose of this workshop is to offer participants the opportunity to experience art and the creative process as a tool for stress management, developing resilience, making connections, building power, and more. All materials will be provided at the workshop. No art experience is necessary.
Each workshop was offered 4 times over the course of the day, meaning attendees could participate in 4 of the 6 workshops.
Over the weekend, in addition to these workshops, we hosted the Sister’s Keeper Panel, bringing together ten AFGE women from across the federation to discuss women in the union, leadership, mental health, and more. We also held constituency group action planning sessions, including AFGE PRIDE, AFGE B.L.A.C.K., AFGE A.P.O.W.E.R., AFGE HISCO, Veterans, and Disability, which allowed attendees to discuss the issues facing each group and begin strategic planning for the coming year. Finally, we brought the Summit to a close with the Sister’s Keeper Walk for Health Equity and Justice.
From August 8-12, we held our Human Rights Training Conference in-person for the first time since 2019. We hosted nearly 700 AFGE members and leaders from across the federation.
This year, we offered 14 of our most popular training courses, including:
Collective Bargaining - Participants in this class will learn how to develop effective bargaining strategies and how to write contract language. Participants will learn the “how‐to’s” of writing contract language: defining and analyzing issues, developing proposals, and writing the actual language. In addition, model contract language will be examined. Midterm bargaining and negotiating techniques will also be analyzed.
Community Activism - A training created to focus on building our AFGE Members into Community Activists who will work to mobilize around racial, social, and economic justice issues that many of our AFGE Members are faced with not only in their workplaces, but also within their communities. Learning to engage in community activism will prepare AFGE to promote our legislative and political efforts to elect candidates that are true representatives of labor, civil, and human rights at all levels of the political system.
Conflict Resolution - Participants will learn the necessary tools and techniques to resolve internal disputes. When and how conflict resolution procedures are appropriate and best interfaced with current procedures will be covered. The class will also cover the importance of remaining neutral and the confidentiality of agreements reached through conflict resolution programs. Participants who successfully complete this course will be added to AFGE’s master list of mediators and will be called upon to assist in AFGE’s Conflict Resolution Program.
Coordinator Bootcamp - This class is designed to sharpen the understanding of the role of a Coordinator as an elected or appointed Local leader. Whether a Women’s, Fair Practices, Pride or YOUNG Coordinator, a lot of the same principles apply. Participants will enhance their knowledge of key civil, human, women and workers’ rights issues. Participants will also learn how to identify and work with like‐minded organizations through coalition building.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Our ever-changing workforce requires the skills and tools to help you prepare for the changes taking place in the Labor Movement. This track will help you construct a proactive diversity program and familiarize you with the AFL‐CIO Diversity Resolution adopted by AFGE.
EEO I (Basic) - This class serves as an introduction to EEO issues, litigation, and remedies for all members and officers in AFGE. Participants will learn the difference between EEO matters and other employment disputes, how to identify the proper forum for an EEO dispute, and how the agency administers the EEO process. The class also highlights the importance of 29 CFR Part 1614 and introduces participants to the EEO process including the agency's investigation of EEO cases, how to request a hearing before the EEOC, and how to prepare for a hearing. The class covers topics such as the federal laws governing EEO issues, EEO Process, Theories of Discrimination, Burdens of Proof, Litigation Strategies such as Discovery, and Preparing for a Hearing.
EEO II (Intermediate) - The EEO II class is intended for members with previous EEO Basic training. The class will address proper forums for EEO claims and contrast the EEOC, MSPB, and union contract grievance/ arbitration. The class will also address the essential elements of an EEO claim and the procedural methods for bringing that claim forward in the EEO process.
Participants will learn how to prepare a case and be able to identify and understand different types of decisions, orders, and motions. The class will also provide an understanding of the initial conference call/acknowledgement and order, discovery requests and responses, depositions, motions and pre-hearing submissions/pre-hearing reports. The class will conclude with a mock prehearing conference, complete with rulings on approved witnesses and exhibits.
EEO III (Advanced) - This class is intended for union members who have had previous training and experience in EEO hearings. It will open with a session on statutory basis for filing an EEO complaint, reviewing the theories of discrimination and providing suggestions for determining whether a case has merit. Participants will also receive “insider” information including an overview of the EEOC Handbook for Administrative Judges. The class will provide useful tips for handling requests for reasonable accommodation under the ADA, ADAAA, and Rehabilitation Act, how to defeat a motion for summary judgment, and requirements for proving a claim for compensatory damages.
EEO Legal Writing (Advanced) - This class is intended for union members who have previous training and experience in all aspects of an EEO case. The class will be comprised of writing exercises that focus on drafting: Formal Complaint; Discovery Requests; Preliminary Case Information; Motions to Compel; Oppositions to Motions to Compel; Oppositions to Motions for Summary Judgments; Participants must have an advanced understanding of Theories of Discrimination and Burdens of Proof. This class will involve a great deal of legal writing exercises.
Organizing Institute - It is more important than ever for our members to organize, organize, organize. It is our goal to develop and promote the craft of organizing. This training will include Labor History, Group Recruiting Techniques, One‐on‐One Communications, Member Benefits and Mobilization techniques.
Racial Justice is Real - Class Description: In 1964, Sister Fannie Lou Hamer proclaimed she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. These famous words were in reference to being treated as a second‐class citizen in this country. Despite decades of culture shifts and policy changes, prejudices against communities of color have intensified. Participants will look at what racial justice means for our work in the union and the labor movement and how we as people of color, activists and allies can bring about positive change for our members and their families.
Worker’s Compensation/Disability Retirement - This class is designed to develop our members' knowledge and skills needed to handle claims for the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) and federal disability retirement. Understand the features of each program and help your members process claims quickly and accurately and bring injured employees back to work.
Workplace Bullying - Spend time with Dr. Gary Namie, co‐founder and director of the Workplace Bullying Institute and member of UAW 1981. With unremitting exposure to bullying, members suffer stress‐related health problems: high blood pressure, coronary disease, ulcers, depression, PTSD. Some employers love workplace bullying. It can be a default management style. Complaints to HR can lead to retaliation and loss of jobs. Unions are the only source of relief for bullied workers. Unions that provide substantial support to bullied members can claim superior service. Become an expert to help your own members.
Y.O.U.N.G. Training - This new unionist training will cover important aspects of union life in AFGE, such as Robert’s Rules of Order, following the money (from dues to activism), and even AFGE history. The class will further provide new unionists with tools to be successful AFGE activists and will include topics such as leadership skills, improving communications, community action, building the YOUNG workforce, discussing diversity and inclusion, building mentor and mentee partnerships, and young worker organizing. This training is a key component to any new unionist who is ready to become active and successful in AFGE!
Because of the overwhelming popularity of our EEO courses, we offered two sections of our Basic EEO course, bringing the total to 15 courses offered that week.
In addition to our HRT training courses, we led a “Together We Rise” Rally outside of the Eastern District Court of Louisiana. Participants marched from the Hilton Riverside to the courthouse carrying signs and chanting for fair contracts for federal workers, women’s rights, and more. AFGE A.P.O.W.E.R. and AFGE B.L.A.C.K. hosted their annual meetings. We also held our “Together We Rise” Luncheon featuring guest speakers AFGE Political Director Kevin Cooper and AFGE Director of Membership and Organizing David Cann.
We hosted our Human Rights Training Banquet in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Riverside. Since the theme was “Throwback Thursday,” attendees came dressed according to their favorite decade. Some dressed as the decade they were born in, some the decade grew up in, and for others it was the decade they most identified with. In addition to a plated dinner, this ticketed event featured a live band, DJ, dancing, photo booth, and more.
As part of their annual service commitment, AFGE’s Human Rights Committee and the AFGE National Y.O.U.N.G. Committee led the way in giving back to New Orleans by collecting and donating some much needed supplies to Covenant House New Orleans, including wet wipes, hand towels, drying towels, water bottles, and duffle bags.
Covenant House New Orleans serves homeless and trafficked youth ages 16-22 (including any of their children) with unconditional love, absolute respect and relentless support through a series of progressive and interconnected programs that address a young person's holistic needs, including housing, physical and mental health and wellness, education and workforce development, parenting supports and more.
Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition everyday and countless more experience this reality through friends, family, and coworkers living with mental illness. In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 2-8, 2022), the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments hosted a series of programs aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination around mental illness and giving AFGE members the tools and support needed to protect their mental health.
WFP kicked off Mental Illness Awareness Week with a 60-minute yoga and meditation virtual workshop. Next, WFP hosted a Mental Health Virtual Workshop, which included an introduction to our Mental Health Program, a workshop on anxiety and self-care, and constituency group discussions hosted by AFGE B.L.A.C.K., AFGE PRIDE, AFGE A.P.O.W.E.R., and AFGE HISCO. Next, building on the conversation started at this year’s Sister’s Keeper Summit Women’s Panel, WFP hosted a Sister’s Keeper Virtual Panel and Discussion bringing together women from across AFGE to discuss women’s mental health and wellness.
Finally, WFP and AFGE B. L.A.C.K. co-hosted a virtual workshop about racial trauma and stress facilitated by Shara Smith from AFGE’s Field Services and Education Department. Racism and race-based discrimination can be traumatizing — emerging out of the confluence of historical, cultural, and individual traumatic experiences. Experiences can have detrimental psychological impacts on not only individuals and their wider communities. This workshop introduces the concept of racial trauma among communities of color. Through this training, participants will learn about what the latest scholars and researchers have to say about racism and the subsequent racial trauma that impacts overall mental health and wellbeing for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) persons living in the US.
Domestic Violence is a health and safety issue that impacts the wellbeing of our colleagues and our workplaces. According to the CDC, in the U.S., 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened domestic violence in the United States and across the globe. The isolation, financial hardship, stress, and other issues brought on by the pandemic might trigger violence where there was none before or exacerbate it in households where violence is already a problem.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, WFP hosted a Domestic Violence Virtual Workshop facilitated by WFP Supervisory Attorney Jenny Pratt.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities in the federal and D.C. workforce, and to assert our collective commitment to recruiting, retaining, and advancing individuals with disabilities across the country.
In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, WFP hosted our 2nd Annual Disability Employment Program, which included three events. First, we hosted our Disability Employment Program Virtual Workshop, which covered topics related to disability employment and equity in the Federal and D.C. workforce, including neurodiversity and PTSD, and featured guest speakers Dr. Hala Annabi, Associate Professor of at the University of Washington and author of the Autism at Work Playbook and District 7 NFPAAC Yvonne Renee Evans. Our next workshop focused on ensuring equity for individuals with disabilities, featuring guest speaker Dexter Brooks, Associate Director of Federal Operations at the EEOC, who discussed affirmative action plans, best practices for disability policy and practice, and more. Finally, our WFP attorneys facilitated a virtual workshop about the reasonable accommodations process.
WFP, AFGE Y.O.U.N.G., and the AFGE Legislative Team co-hosted AFGE Y.O.U.N.G.'s “Back to School” Power Hour, which discussed Y.O.U.N.G.’s legislative priorities, what’s at stake in the midterm elections, and how AFGE members can get involved in political and legislative action.
Given the importance of the 2022 midterm elections to AFGE members, their families, and communities, WFP, AFGE Y.O.U.N.G., AFGE PRIDE, AFGE B.L.A.C.K., AFGE A.P.O.W.E.R., and AFGE HISCO worked together to host a Virtual GOTV Night on October 27th. In addition to hearing from AFGE Political Director Kevin Cooper and some of our group leaders, we made over 400 calls phonebanking to voters in Nevada, one of our most important battleground states in this midterm election.
WFP and AFGE B.L.A.C.K. hosted three virtual Black History Month events, including a webinar on the history of the Black Labor Movement, a panel bringing together Black law enforcement from different federal agencies to discuss the intersections of Blackness, policing, and unionism, and a panel discussion about the experiences of Black AFGE members.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, WFP hosted our “AFGE Women” virtual panel discussion. This panel brought together women from across AFGE to discuss the experiences and perspectives of women in the union and in the Federal and D.C. workforce.
May is Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian American Heritage Month, a celebration of the AAPINH United States. WFP and AFGE A.P.O.W.E.R. co-hosted A.P.O.W.E.R. Hour, a virtual AAPINH Heritage Month Celebration of the diverse histories, cultures, languages, identities, and experiences that make up the AANHPI Community, featuring a panel of AFGE members who identify as AAPINH from across the United States.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. WFP and AFGE PRIDE celebrated Pride Month by honoring LGBTQIA+ community and culture and renewing our commitment to fight to advance LGBTQIA+ rights.
Our Pride Month kickoff was our “Proud History” virtual panel celebrating LGBTQIA+ history and facilitated by AFGE PRIDE Coordinators. Additionally, Capital Pride returned to the streets of Washington D.C. for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. WFP and AFGE PRIDE sponsored an AFGE PRIDE float in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, and a booth at the Capital Pride Festival and on Sunday. WFP staff, PRIDE Coordinators, and LGBTQIA+ members and allies represented AFGE at both events, riding on the float and passing out giveaways to the crowd on Saturday and handing out giveaways at the AFGE PRIDE table on Sunday.
Each year from September 15-October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month pays tribute to Hispanic and Latinx culture, community, and contribution today and throughout history. This observance began in 1968 under Lyndon B. Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week, before being signed into law by Ronald Reagan as a month-long commemoration beginning on September 15th to honor the independence anniversaries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
This year, we were especially excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the reintroduction of the AFGE Hispanic Coalition as a constituency group under WFP. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month Virtual Panel on Zoom and Facebook Live to learn more about Hispanic and Latinx culture, better understand the experiences of our Hispanic and Latinx union siblings, and hear more about AFGE HISCO.
November is National Native American Heritage Month, an annual celebration of the culture, heritage, and history of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Efforts to institutionalize a time to honor Indigenous peoples go back over a century. In 1916, the first American Indian Day was declared by the State of New York. Over the course of the 20th Century, a number of states declared similar holidays. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush first issued a proclamation designating November as National Native American Heritage Month.
National Native American Heritage Month is an opportunity for celebration, but it's also an important opportunity to reflect on the dispossession and displacement faced by Indigenous peoples now and in the past, and all of the resilience and activism done to ensure the continuance of Indigenous culture and community today.
The AFGE Women’s and Fair Practices Departments recognize that Washington D.C., seat of the Federal and D.C. Governments and home to AFGE Headquarters, sits on the traditional ancestral land of the Piscataway people, including the Nacotchtank (or Anacostan) peoples.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Piscataway were one of the predominant Indigenous groups living along the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. They were made up of several small bands living throughout what is now Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and the area between the Potomac River, Patapsco River, and the Chesapeake Bay.
Despite everything wrought by English colonization, groups of Piscataway survived and maintain their presence in this area today. In 2012, after years of advocacy and activism, the Piscataway Indian Nation and Piscataway Conoy Tribe became the first two American Indian groups indigenous to Maryland to be formally recognized by the state.
Learn more about the traditional Piscataway territory here, through this searchable map of Native territories, languages and treaties, developed by Native Land Digital, an Indigenous-led nonprofit. To better understand the traditional Indigenous lands you live and work on, check the map out here.
In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, the Women’s and Fair Practices Departments hosted On Piscataway Land: A Native American Heritage & History Webinar on November 29th from 7-9pm ET. This program featured guest speaker Anjela Barnes (Piscataway), the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Accokeek Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving Piscataway lands in Maryland. Our panel will focus on Indigenous identity and heritage.