Aug. 20, 2010
Obama Signs Bill to Add 1,200 ICE, Border Patrol Agents: President Barack Obama last week signed a bill that would add a combined 1,200 agents at Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Southwest Border Security Bill will add 1,000 Border Patrol agents, 200 special agents, investigators and intelligence analysts at ICE, and additional funding throughout the agency. AFGE President John Gage emphasized the importance of the bill, saying it is essential for ICE and Border Patrol as well as every other Homeland Security agency to have the staffing and funding needed to carry out their mission.
Defense Secretary to Step Down in 2011: Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he plans to step down sometime next year. Gates told Foreign Policy magazine published this week that he would not wait until January 2012 because it would be more difficult to fill his position in an election year. Gates recently proposed to slash the department's budget by more than $100 billion over the next five years. He also proposed to eliminate three Defense agencies, freeze hiring for most jobs, and cut funding for service support contractors.
OPM Refutes Findings of USA Today Article on Federal Pay: Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry last week refuted the findings of a recent USA Today article that found that federal employees are overpaid. Berry said the article did not compare like jobs and did not take into consideration skills, location, and education of the workers. Berry said federal employees in fact earn 22 percent less than their private-sector counterparts.
AFGE Wins Job Back for VA Cemetery Caretaker: A cemetery caretaker at the Veterans Affairs Department in Santa Fe, New Mexico got his job back after the Merit Systems Protection Board sided with AFGE and recently reversed his removal. The agency earlier this year terminated the employee for allegedly not being able to perform his duties because of a medical reason. The MSPB judge, however, found that the agency did not have enough evidence to back up its charge. The employee, who is a member of AFGE Local 2063, has returned to work with back pay.
LIUNA Re-affiliated with AFL-CIO: AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka issued the following statement on LIUNA's reaffiliation with the AFL-CIO on August 16, 2010.
"We are very happy that LIUNA is rejoining the AFL-CIO at a critical moment for working people. Union members, like all working families, have been hard hit by a brutal economy and decades of policies that have undermined the middle class. More than ever, now is the moment for a unified labor movement. And as we rebuild and strengthen the labor movement, we will work together to create good jobs, restore a middle-class economy, and elect leaders who stand with working people. Together, brick by brick, we will build an economy that works for everyone. LIUNA brings a proud history and dedication to the union movement and we are delighted to welcome them back to the AFL-CIO. I want to personally recognize the president of LIUNA, Terry O'Sullivan, for his leadership and commitment to working people."
LIUNA represents workers in the construction industry
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Inside Government: Tune in now to AFGE's radio show Inside Government to learn about the life of labor organizer Regina V. Polk, economic policies that can revive the stalled job market, and more! The show, which originally aired on Friday, Aug. 13, is now available on demand. Terry Spencer Hesser, author of "I Am a Teamster: A Short, Fiery Story of Regina V. Polk, Her Hats, Her Pets, Sweet Love, and the Modern-Day Labor Movement," shed light on Regina Polk's life and dedication to the labor movement. Polk, an organizer and business representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743, died in a plane crash in 1983. Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, discussed the struggling U.S. job market and economic policies that could create jobs and get people back to work. Shierholz also addressed the industries hit hardest by the economic recession. Finally, Center for American Progress Director of Government Reform Reece Rushing discussed his organization's government reform efforts and shared his thoughts on insourcing government work.
Listen LIVE on Fridays at 10 a.m. on 1500 AM WFED in the D.C. area or online at www.federalnewsradio.com. For more information, please visit www.insidegovernmentradio.com.