FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 09, 2006
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Michael Victorian
(202)639-2055

AFGE National President Continues Tour on Border Protection Issues

WHAT:

Town Hall Meetings with Border Protection Officers

WHEN:

February 13 - 17, 2006

WHERE:


Monday, February 13, 2006
Lone Star Restaurant
4201 West Business Hwy 83
Harlingen, Texas

Tuesday, February 14
El Patio Restaurant
402 East Main Street
Rio Grande, Texas

Wednesday, February 15
Coyote Coral & Cantina
4615 San Bernardo Street
Laredo, Texas

Thursday, February 16
Sirloin Stockade
225 South Bibbs Street
Eagle Pass, Texas

Friday, February 17
Sirloin Stockade
2015 Veterans Blvd.
Del Rio, Texas

WHO:

John Gage, AFGE National President
Roy Flores, AFGE National Vice President, 10th District

(Harlingen, Texas)-AFGE National President John Gage will host the town hall meetings across southern Texas to hear Customs and Border Protection officers concerns about a lack of law enforcement status and border security. Also in attendance will be AFGE National Vice President, Roy Flores.

Border protection officers put themselves at physical risk to arrest and detain individuals that violate the law but do not have the benefits of law enforcement status. AFGE is leading the effort to get “6(c)” law enforcement benefits for border patrol officers, which would allow them to retire after 20 years of service at 50 years old, or at any time after serving for 25 years.

Gage explained at a recent town hall meeting in El Paso that the lack of benefits and pay for Customs and Border Protection officers has resulted in a ‘20 percent vacancy rate’ that weakens national security. This vacancy rate puts homeland security at risk by stretching an understaffed and underappreciated workforce with overly important responsibilities.

“Customs and Border Protection officers have got a gun, and a badge, but they don’t have the respect of their agency,” said Gage.

AFGE is the overwhelmingly dominant union representing employees within the Department of Homeland Security. AFGE represents workers of the Border Patrol, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. AFGE has been at the forefront of representing DHS workers and opposing extreme personnel proposals in the department since its creation in 2001.

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