WASHINGTON – Today, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the largest union representing 700,000 federal and DC government employees is sounding the alarm after learning that management in multiple federal agencies have denied workers administrative leave to vote as urged by an executive order signed by President Biden in March of 2021.
In March 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14019 on Promoting Access to Voting. This executive order recognized that no American should have to choose between exercising their right to participate in our democracy and a paycheck and instructed the government to develop ways to encourage voting and non-partisan volunteer work among federal employees.
In response, on March 24, 2022, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance instructing agencies to grant employees up to four hours of administrative leave to vote early or on election day as well as an additional four hours per leave year to serve as a non-partisan poll worker or non-partisan observer.
AFGE National President Everett Kelley issued the following statement:
“With early voting in full swing and election day less than a week away, workers across the country and government are reporting to AFGE that management is routinely denying these leave requests.
“We’ve heard the same sad story from workers in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, and Wisconsin. We’ve also heard from workers in a wide variety of agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and the Government Publishing Office.
“President Biden’s order was clear – and so was the OPM guidance. It is unacceptable that agency managers are ignoring the president’s clear direction.
“On behalf of the 700,000 employees represented by AFGE, I am calling on all federal agencies to comply immediately with President Biden’s order and OPM’s guidance, to grant workers leave they request to vote and perform non-partisan volunteer work, and to cease undermining the rights of our members.”