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American Federation of Government Employees
FoundedOctober 17, 1932
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
301,992 (2015)[1]
Key people
Everett Kelley, President

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is an American labor union representing over 750,000 employees of the federal government, about 5,000 employees of the District of Columbia, and a few hundred private sector employees, mostly in and around federal facilities. AFGE is the largest union for civilian, non-postal federal employees and the largest union for District of Columbia employees who report directly to the mayor (i.e., outside D.C. public schools). It is affiliated with the AFL–CIO.


Berniece Heffner was the first national Secretary and Treasurer of the AFGE Movement.
Henrietta Olding, pictured here in 1917, was an early vice president of District 2. She was a labor rights and women's rights activist within the movement.

AFGE was founded on October 17, 1932, by local unions loyal to the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and left the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) when that union became independent of the AFL (NFFE in 1998 became part of the IAMAW, which is affiliated with the AFL–CIO).

AFGE is a federation of local unions, with each local maintaining autonomy through operating under local constitutions that comply with the AFGE National constitution ratified originally during its founding in 1932.

Federal employees' right to organize and bargain binding labor contracts was established in law by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which AFGE helped to draft, and which states that collective bargaining in the federal sector is in the public interest while also barring the right to strike.

AFGE has played a crucial role[according to whom?] in the struggle for women's rights and civil rights in the federal sector, and was one of the first unions to establish a Women's Department and a Fair Practices Department, with the officer over those departments holding a seat on the National Executive Committee (NEC) and with Women's and Fair Practices Coordinators elected in each AFGE district since the early 1970s.

AFGE's December 2009 court suits stopped aspects of the George W. Bush administration's "National Security Personnel System" (for DOD) and MAXHR (for DHS), and AFGE also won changes to law that make the contracting out process more balanced[according to whom?] in regard to federal employees' interests. In 2010, the Obama administration issued an executive order for the federal government to focus on insourcing federal jobs rather than outsourcing them overseas or to contractors.

AFGE's motto was established as "To Do For All That Which No One Can Do For Oneself".

AFGE's original emblem was a shield with the stars and stripes and the words "Justice, Fraternity, Progress" and the current emblem is three workers supporting a globe with a map of the United States and the words "Proud to Make America Work".

In June 2011, AFGE also won the historic largest single nationwide consolidated bargaining unit election of over 44,000 employees of the Transportation Security Administration, part of the Department of Homeland Security. AFGE is working for a change in law which will give them the same collective bargaining rights as other federal employees.

In August 2015, AFGE at its national convention decided its official colors are blue and gold. All future insignia will meet as such.


AFGE is led by a National Executive Council, made up of National President Everett Kelley, a National Secretary-Treasurer, and National Vice President, Women's and Fair Practices, elected at a triennial National Convention, and 12 National Vice Presidents who oversee geographic districts and are elected at District caucuses.


1932: David Glass
1932: John Arthur Shaw[2]
1933: Claude Babcock[2]
1936: Charles Irwin Stengle[2]
1939: Cecil E. Custer[2]
1939: James B. Burns[2]
1948: James G. Yaden[2]
1950: Henry C. Iler[2]
1951: James A. Campbell[2]
1962: John Griner[2]
1972: Clyde M. Webber
1976: Ken Blaylock
1988: John Sturdivant
1997: Bobby Harnage
2003: John Gage
2012: Jeffrey David Cox
2020: Everett Kelley


1935: Berniece Heffner
1953: Henrietta E. Olding
1956: Esther F. Johnson
1970: Douglas H. Kershaw
1974: Nicholas Nolan
1986: Allen H. Kaplan
1991: Bobby Harnage
1997: Rita Mason
2000: Jim Davis
2006: Jeffrey David Cox
2012: Eugene Hudson
2018: Everett Kelley
2020: Eric Bunn


Labor relations in the federal sector are governed by the Federal Labor Relations Authority, an independent federal agency, and federal sector unions have recourse to binding arbitration and to the Federal Services Impasses Panel to resolve impasses which might lead to a strike in the private sector.

Numbered "Councils of Locals"

AFGE members hold a silent protest to demand that Congress avoid another government shutdown, 2019.

For AFGE, collective bargaining responsibilities are delegated to numbered "Councils of Locals" at major agencies, including the following:

AFGE rally against Department of Veterans Affair budget cuts, 2012.
Red, white, and blue baseball cap with logo of the American Federation of Government Employees
American Federation of Government Employees ball cap from the 1980s.


All union membership in the federal sector is entirely voluntary, as the law does not allow for the "closed shop"; federal employees are barred from being candidates for partisan political office, and no dues money may be spent on partisan political campaigns.

See also


  1. ^ "AFGE - Page Not Found". Archived from the original on 2016-04-04. Retrieved 28 May 2018. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Notable Names in American History. Clifton, New Jersey: James T. White & Company. 1973. p. 557. ISBN 0883710021.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-02-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  5. ^ "AFGE Law Enforcement Committee |". Archived from the original on 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  6. ^ "National Border Patrol Council - Protecting Those Who Protect Our Borders". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  7. ^ "AFGE - CPL33". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  8. ^ "National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals". Archived from the original on 22 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  9. ^ "AFGE National VA Council » fighting for the jobs & future of federal employees". Archived from the original on 2017-10-12. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  10. ^ "NCFLL". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Home - AFGE Council 100". AFGE Council 100. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  12. ^ "National ICE Council - Protecting those who protect America". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  13. ^ "AFGE LOCAL 1458 - National CIS Council 119 Secretary Treasurer Lopez announces vote tally 1/04/14". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Union Facts - Government Employees, Council 120 - United States Coast Guard Council Of Afge Locals - Profile, Membership, Leaders, Political Operations, etc". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ " - afgec170 Resources and Information". Archived from the original on 2018-03-23. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  17. ^ "Former AFGE171 Main Page". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2016-02-23.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "AFGE Local 200 – American Federation of Government Employees Local 200". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  20. ^ "The-Inspector The Meat Inspectors Home Page". Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  21. ^ "AFGE Council 214". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Council 216 Main Page". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  23. ^ "AFGE Council 220". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Domain Error". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  25. ^ Name, Your. "HUD AFGE COUNCIL 222 Home Page". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  26. ^ "AFGE - Council 224". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  27. ^ [2][dead link]
  28. ^ "My Blog - Just another WordPress site". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Welcome to the AFGE Council 252 website!". Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  30. ^ "". Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Signing of a collective bargaining agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 2463".