AFGE steward Brad Bradley joined federal workforce to improve environment
WASHINGTON – Growing up in Ohio, Brad Bradley became motivated to help improve the environment after watching Lake Erie nearly die due to industrial pollution and witnessing a massive fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in the late 1960s.
So Bradley got a degree in environmental engineering and joined the Environmental Protection Agency, which was created in 1970 the wake of the Cuyahoga River fire. Bradley’s career at EPA has empowered him to take action on environmental issues affecting all Americans, from improving air quality to cleaning up hazardous waste sites.
Bradley knows that the work he does makes a difference in people’s lives. In the 1990s, he was involved in cleaning up a Superfund site where a smelting plant had polluted the ground with lead. Nearly 20 percent of children exposed to the area had high blood lead levels before the cleanup, but that dropped to just 2 percent once the cleanup was complete.
“We did something good. It’s actually going to help those kids’ health, (and) the next generation that grows up there won’t have the issues that the one before it did,” Bradley says.
Brad shares his story in the latest documentary produced by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Brad and more than 10,000 other bargaining unit employees throughout EPA. The documentary series is part of AFGE’s year long campaign, “I Am AFGE,” to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them every day.
“The employees we represent at EPA are stewards of the environment. They ensure the safety of our air, water, land and natural resources,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “They are also stewards of our economy, helping to clean up toxic dumps and transform polluted wastelands into thriving economic centers that create jobs where they’re needed most.”
Brad currently works on cleaning up Brownfield sites as coordinator of EPA’s Region 5 Superfund Greener Cleanup Program. Brownfield sites are former industrial sites that are less polluted than Superfund sites. By cleaning up these sites, they can be redeveloped and help spur economic growth, Brad says.
Brad’s story is one of 15 short-form documentaries being released by AFGE every three weeks through the end of the year, highlighting individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country.
All of the videos are being posted online and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also is being promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.
In addition, a special toll-free phone line has been established to record and share testimonials from federal employees or citizens who value the services that federal employees provide. The number to call is 1-844-IAM-AFGE (426-2343).
“AFGE is proud to represent the women and men who are making our communities safer for current and future generations,” Cox said. “They and all other government employees have dedicated their careers to serving the public. This campaign is our way of thanking them for their service and reminding Americans of the valuable work they do.”