(WASHINGTON)—Adding to its reputation as the union for the American Federation of Government Employees recently was certified at the national level as the exclusive representative for approximately 2,500 United States Coast Guard employees.
Marking their trust in AFGE, professional employees at the USCG voted for inclusion in a consolidated unit with the non-professionals, thus merging 22 existing units into one nationwide unit. The Federal Labor Relations Authority issued the new certification on March 31.
“USCG currently runs more contracting out competitions than all the rest of DHS put together. With this consolidation, Coast Guard civilian employees will get a strengthened voice at an agency that has leaned too far toward contracting out important work done by civilians, including oversight of contractors,” AFGE National President John Gage said.
“Preliminary discussions between USCG and AFGE regarding a single master labor agreement already have begun, and AFGE looks forward to continued amicable relations with the agency while increasing the respect accorded to civilian employees,” he added.
With the certification finalized, AFGE now will move to increase the number of employees in the unit, which includes some 250 professional positions—such as accountants, engineers and naval architects—and 2,250 non-professional positions, some Wage Grade and some GS employees.
On April 1, AFGE filed for its first add-on to the consolidated unit, for the National Maritime Center at Martinsburg, W.Va.
“Unrepresented Coast Guard employees will go under the unpopular DHS e-performance system as of Oct. 1, while those in the AFGE unit will not,” Gage said. “AFGE is willing to help any currently unrepresented Coast Guard employees who want union representation.”
Interested Coast Guard employees should contact AFGE at (202) 639-6410.
AFGE is the largest union representing Coast Guard employees, covering approximately 2,500 of the agency’s 7,000 civilian employees. The union represents USCG employees from coast-to-coast, including all GS employees at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, and all employees at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Finance Center in Norfolk, Va., Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Ca, and at Kodiak, Alaska—the largest Coast Guard station.