(Las Vegas, NV)-Over 1,200 government employees-serving as delegates to AFGE's 36th National Convention-yesterday elected John Gage as their new National President, defeating second term incumbent Bobby L. Harnage, Sr.
Gage's victory reflects the delegates' confidence in his ability to effectively combat the most hostile administration government employees have faced in several decades. Gage was elected on the second ballot with a 53 percent majority of voters.
President of Local 1923, Gage has been in office for over 20 years running the largest federal employee Local in the country and representing approximately 30,000 employees nationwide at such agencies as the Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formally HCFA), Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and the National Mediation Board.
Gage has negotiated state of the art contracts, testified at many congressional hearings on behalf of federal employees and has successfully organized many new units under the federal sector. Gage also serves as Vice President on the Executive Board of the Baltimore Metro Central Labor Body and is a member of the SSA/AFGE Union Management Committee.
Convention delegates also re-elected Jim Davis for a second term as National Secretary-Treasurer with a 60 percent majority. Women's Director Andrea Brooks was elected by acclamation on Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Gage notes his plans for the next three years include an aggressive assault against Bush Administration policies that AFGE believes are dismantling critical government services to the public.
"AFGE has the responsibility to let the American public know what is really going on with government," Gage said. "The Social Security Administration is being starved of resources, VA hospitals are being threatened with closures, billions of taxpayer dollars are being dumped into Defense contractors' pockets, and public services are being directly converted to 'for-profit' corporations."
"We will make it clear to the American people that the Bush Administration's efforts to privatize half of our government's workforce have nothing to do with saving money or improving services," Gage added. "It's all about political payoffs for well-connected campaign contributors. Further, Bush's efforts to eliminate collective bargaining rights have nothing to do with 'flexibility' and everything to do with outright de-unionization."
The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for federal workers, representing some 600,000 federal employees in the United States and overseas, as well as employees working for the District of Columbia.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.