FEMA Worker & Local AFGE President Speaks Out on Homeland Security
(Washington, D.C.)—“Union members are not an obstacle to Homeland Security—we are Homeland Security,” states Denise Dukes, a Management Analyst at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Dukes—who has worked for FEMA for 13 years and is President of AFGE Local 4060 representing federal employees at FEMA Headquarters—will speak at a news conference to be held by the Senate Democratic Steering Committee on the issue of Homeland Security:
September 4, 2002 10:30 a.m., Room 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
“Like most employees at FEMA, I belong to one of the many specially-trained emergency teams ready to respond in a crisis at a moment’s notice,” Dukes will point out in her statement. “The pagers that most of us wear are proof that we are on call 24/7. Flexibility is our middle name.”
Within an hour after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, most of the 800 federal employees who work in FEMA’s Washington, D.C. Headquarters went into emergency mode. Some were immediately dispatched to New York to coordinate the emergency response. Others worked to coordinate efforts by the Red Cross, police, firefighters and emergency medical teams. FEMA employees also coordinated logistics, ranging from the acquisition of food, clothing and potable water to boots for rescue workers.
“When the terrorists attacked on September 11, FEMA employees responded and deployed without question as soon as they were told to do so,” Dukes will state. “They responded with extraordinary courage, compassion and love for their country.”
“We are proud and eager to serve our fellow Americans. Nothing will ever deter us from our mission,” Dukes will conclude.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.