Enid Doggett (202) 639-6422 Kurt Gallagher (202) 639-6491
AFGE National President Says Whistleblowers Need Union Protection
WASHINGTON, DC—John Gage, National President of the largest federal employees union applauded Teresa Chambers, former director of the U.S. Park Service Police, for raising the issue of whistleblower protections. Chambers, who was suspended last December for speaking out about staffing shortages, is once again in the news and bringing attention to the need for workplace protections for federal whistleblowers. Gage said proposed personnel changes for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security could leave federal employee unions incapable of protecting whistleblowers from workplace retaliation.
"The Bush Administration has sent a clear and chilling message to all government employees: speak out and you'll be out," said Gage. "In these dangerous times, government failings must be brought to light as soon as they are discovered. Without a strong union protecting potential whistleblowers, these employees understand they will have no protection from dismissal, often on bogus charges, should they put the public's interest first by speaking out."
Ms. Chambers was suspended from her post in December of last year after she spoke publicly about staffing shortages due to inadequate budgets. In a recent interview with Fox News Channel's "Weekend Live," Ms. Chambers stated that she has received thousands of email messages, many from government employees, expressing fears about whistleblowing.
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.