AFGE Social Security Council 220 National Secretary and Local 3272 President, Rosendo Rocha, was recently featured in a “Time” Magazine online photo story about the Democratic National Convention. Rocha served as a delegate from Michigan. Please click here to view the complete story.
Rosendo Rocha, AFGE SSA Council 220 Secretary and Local 3272 President, attended the DNC as a Michigan delegate.
“I represent federal employees that work for the Social Security Administration
office throughout the country. Every day we meet and service people for Medicare
and their Social Security benefits and President Obama is going to make sure
that people continue to have the healthcare coverage that they’ve worked and
earned for their whole lives,” said Rocha.
The attacks on September 11, 2001, had a devastating effect on federal employees and military service members. The Pentagon took a direct hit, killing dozens of workers. Federal employees also were at the World Trade Center in New York City and on the airplanes that were used as weapons that fateful day. The government’s response was immediate: federal employees, both civilian and military, sprung into action and were on the front lines of the rescue, recovery and investigation efforts.
Army Newswatch Report on Pentagon Attack and Response
Following are the names of the 69 federal civilian employees who were killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Clicking on a name will direct you to the employee’s profile on the Washington Post’s 9/11 Victims Database:
At the Pentagon, Army employees
Max Beilke, retired Army master sergeant, 69, Laurel, Md.
By Terry Duncan | AFGE Local 3448 | AFGE SSA Council 220
Y’all come on down!
Like revivals of old, AFGE’s annual call to come on down to Washington, DC in February is a call to inspire its activist members and get new converts on board the legislative action train. The Union traded in a tent for the Hyatt, but the passion AFGE leaders will bring to the 2012 Legislative Conference is focused on igniting a response among the hardworking but often cautious faithful.
Well, folks, let me say this: you can’t just sit at your desk and hope that a pay freeze is not extended another year or more. You can’t just assume that Congress isn’t going to hack away at your hard-earned retirement benefits. The Union is only as loud as the voices of its members. You need to witness your story.
The AFGE Legislative revival, oops – conference – gives us the tools to take a clear message to the halls of Congress. When we make an appointment with the staff of our Senators and Congressional representatives, we’ll be taking that message and delivering it with our story.
The story of the VA hospital nurse caring for a wounded warrior;
The tale of the Social Security employee expediting benefits to stave off a foreclosure;
The account of what happens to infants subjected to environmental hazards.
Listen to the words of these first-timers from AFGE’s 2011 Legislative Conference:
Mari Edwards, Local 3509, Aiken, SC: “I’m going to let my co-workers know that AFGE was out there for them, that I was out there for them, members and non-members alike. It really doesn’t take much to at least try and make a difference, so sign the petitions, call your congressperson, write them!”
Eduardo Morales, Local 3984, Middlesboro, KY: “It is an unforgettable experience. We fought hard to prevent any cuts to SSA workers and attempted to share the viewpoint of our employees on proposed changes.”
Lori Hull, Local 3272, Grand Rapids, MI: “We have a lot of work ahead of us if we’re going to win this battle. It’s going to take all of us working together, being active and united.”
These are your stories. Your Senators and Representatives need to hear more from you.
Before we can be grassroots, we have to plant the seeds. Poor seed means poor growth, good seed means thick, lush meadows and bumper crops.
Our union message is the seed we plant. Plant a poor message, and we shouldn’t expect much to grow. But if we get the message right, we will get the bountiful harvest.
If we are going to be effective with legislative action, we can’t start with legislators. We start with members. We need to have members who are educated on the issues, who can speak with brains as well as hearts. We need to know the effects of legislation on our members and we need to show that benefits to unions will promote the national good. We also need to be able to drill down to tell legislators things they often don’t want to hear, about the effects of anti-union prejudice on real working people. We need to have our educated, powerful, and unified voices reach around those fingers in their ears.
Surely we know that carrying our message is not easy. So we need to be dedicated, and there is no better way to be dedicated than to know that we speak truth to power. Union members who have been around for decades need to set a knowledgeable example and be ready to inspire new members. Those who are new need to have confidence born from unity so they can find their voices and take action.
Use email, Facebook, Twitter. Write letters, make phone calls. Show up at legislative coffees and town halls and wear a union pin, a shirt, a jacket. Encourage our friends. Persuade the uncommitted. Keep speaking the truth to our antagonists. Never forget, we are the message. We are the seed. What we plant will grow. There is no more powerful message than our thousands speaking in a single voice, “We are together, hear us now!”
AFGE National Vice President of Women and Fair Practices, Augusta Thomas, and Director of OPM, John Berry celebrate the 50th Anniversay of collective bargaining for federal government employees.
January 17th marked the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of Executive Order 10988, which began collective bargaining in the federal government. Not only did this Executive Order permit workers to join and engage in union activity but it also set the stage for expanding these rights under Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter. It demonstrated a true bipartisan show of support from past presidents for the right of federal workers to have a voice on the job, and an ability to positively impact their livelihoods.
At a time when government workers are currently under partisan attack, recognizing the significance of Executive Order 10988 is especially important to remind everyone of the long journey government workers have taken, and to re-energize workers for the battles ahead.
The AFL-CIO commemorated this historic occasion on Tuesday, January 17th at its headquarters. National Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was one of the honorable guests as well as AFGE National Vice President, Augusta Thomas; AFL-CIO National Secretary- Treasurer, Liz Shuler; and Director of the Office of Personnel Management, John Berry .
AFGE VA Local 1843 President Kelvin Flannery discusses the negative impact of budget cuts on the Department of Veterans Affairs and how it affects the agency’s ability to attract and retain the best talent.
AFGE Local 3258member and US Navy Veteran, Mark Butler, returned home from active duty in January 2008 in the midst of the recession. Despite having numerous qualifications, Butler was heavily affected by the economy and subsequent job freeze.
While he was not immediately successful on the job front, Butler’s experiences applying for jobs inspired him to write a book that offers tips for other veterans looking for federal government employment. Butler’s book, The Coffee Break Guide: For Veterans Seeking Federal Employment, provides employment guidelines to both veterans and disabled veterans.
“I soon realized that there was much needed information buried in the arcane OPM websites, residing in the well of numerous veterans’ personal experience and in my own experience in living through the process and that there were a lot of veterans who could use the information and that putting it all together in plain language, as one veteran to another, would be something worth doing and that it would be something worth sharing,” says Butler. Butler helps readers understand the federal employment process and what veterans can do to get preference in the employment process.
You can read more about the Butler’s book and purchase a copy here.