August 15, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
John Irvine
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Turns 70

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—On August 18, 2002, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) will celebrate its 70th anniversary.

"For 70 years, AFGE has successfully represented the interests of federal and D.C. workers while helping to improve government for the better," said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage. "Today is a good time to reflect on the sacrifices and contributions that so many AFGE members, Senators, Representatives and Presidents have made to develop and improve civil service and collective bargaining rights. They not only made life better for employees, but they made government institutions more responsive to the needs of the American people."
  • 1936—AFGE fought for the laws that gave annual leave and sick days to workers.
  • 1945—AFGE ensured the enactment of the Federal Employees Pay Act, which provided payment to federal workers for overtime, night and holiday work.
  • 1956—AFGE helped to overhaul the retirement laws, providing retirement at 55 years of age with 30 years of service.
  • 1962—AFGE fought for E.O. 10988 which established levels of union representation in the federal government.
  • 1974—AFGE helped revise the Federal Employees Compensation Act that helped to better protect federal workers injured or made ill on the job.
  • 1978—AFGE championed the inclusion of employee protections in the Civil Service Reform Act, protections such as the Federal Labor Relations Authority to resolve disputes, the Merit Systems Protection Board as a way to protect whistleblowers, and extending OSHA coverage to federal workers.
  • 1979—AFGE spearheaded the effort to create collective bargaining for D.C. workers that included bargaining for pay and benefits.
  • 1993—AFGE led the charge for the issuance of E.O. 12871, which developed new ways workers would be involved in improving the efficiency of agency functions.
  • 1994—Because of AFGE, Hatch Act Reform was enacted, providing workers many of the same rights to participate in political activities as other Americans.
  • 1998—AFGE successfully pushed for pilot programs that provided 30 percent child care subsidies for low-wage workers. Program is now permanent.
  • 1999—AFGE forces Congress, the President to provide largest pay raise since 1980.
  • 2001—AFGE won Saturday premium pay for DVA health care workers.

Today, AFGE continues to organize government employees and launch legal and legislative initiatives to improve worker rights and protections. To find out more about the 42 federal employees who started AFGE in 1932, along with an extensive list of AFGE accomplishments, log onto the special anniversary section at

SUBSCRIBE Latest news & info

AFGE Events

Event Calendar is for Members Only. Please Log In to see our calendar of events.