AFGE Leaders:

We had a fantastic Legislative Conference this past week with over 700 AFGE Leaders and Activists attacking Capitol Hill. We had great speakers. Our congressional reception on the Hill had so many congressional representatives and senators, we almost needed a traffic cop. More than their presence was the passion of their remarks in support of government employees and working Americans. The conference was especially timely as we received the DoD proposed regulations for a new labor relations system. Their proposal is horrendous. More details can be found on the AFGE web site. It arrived as our conference began and gave us an opportunity to counterattack with our 700 Leaders in town. We also held a press conference on the DoD proposals and have received tremendous press in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and others. I want to acknowledge that President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO was with us at our press conference. When I testified before Congress on Wednesday, we packed a hearing room raising the issue of the DoD proposals. As a result of all our noise, the Chair of the Committee told us that she had already talked to DoD and the Secretary of the Navy would be in charge of the reform process and that I should be expecting his call. We've talked and are scheduled to meet next week.

At the end of the week, we met with Secretary Ridge to discuss the soon to be released DHS proposals for its new personnel system. AFGE's press release is on the web. While the DHS proposals are significantly better than the DoD proposals, the DHS proposals also have severe problems. However, Secretary Ridge personally indicated his desire that we continue meaningful and substantive discussions while the public comment process continues. We intend to take him up on his offer. We just finished our press conference on the DHS proposals.

AFGE had a net growth of over a thousand new members in December which is the first December we have ever experienced that kind of growth. Let's get out from behind our desks and talk to the employees -- members and potential members about all the issues. Ask them to join they're ready!

I enjoyed seeing all my AFGE colleagues this past week. You will be hearing more from me on a regular basis.

Best wishes, John Gage