From: Kelley Dull, President AFGE Council 171
Sent: Thursday, January 16, 2003 11:50 AM
Subject: Bargaining Council President's meeting w/NEC
This past weekend I attended a Strategic Planning Session with the Bargaining Council Presidents, DEFCON Leadership, the NEC, National staffers and 5 local presidents. The purpose of the meeting was to continue planning the direction of AFGE in relation to budget recommendations, to voice concerns and identify priorities for the coming year.
Met with the Bargaining Council Presidents all day Friday and discussed issues of concern and came up with our recommendations to the NEC.
Then spent Saturday and Sunday with the large group (with the aid of facilitators) structuring and defining priorities on all levels of the organization. For those that attended the Leadership Conference in Chicago, this was much like that only on a smaller scale.
Several items came out of the meeting and are listed below:
- There is a sense of urgency to coordinate and mobilize our locals, members and workforce. There is a feeling that locals and the federal workforce as a whole do not fully see what is going on within the federal workforce. It is expected that Legislation will be introduced within the next month to place ALL of DOD under Homeland Security thereby effectively stripping them of their civil service protections and collective bargaining rights. AFGE has gone in to organize the TSA employees apparently worrying the administration to the point that Adm. Loy issued the order that the TSA employees could not be represented by a union due to National Security. Afge filed in court the next day. Additionally we must look at the official time legislation, contracting out, outsourcing, the Army's "Third Wave" the Navy's Transformation plan and BRAC, to name a few.
- The need was identified that we must combat the onslaught of bad publicity in the minds of the American public. We must let the local media know that we are not the lazy, good for nothing employees we are being portrayed as. We are your sisters, brothers, neighbors, etc. who take great pride in our work and are loyal to the American public to get the job done. We must also identify and publicize wrongdoing and problems by DOD contractors
- We must proactively meet and discuss issues with our congressional representatives to send them clear messages with the help of members, retirees, neighbors, etc that we will not take these attacks on federal workers and that we are America's best defense against possible compromises.
- The need to shift funds to allow a major campaign was discussed with recommendations of how to get there.
Below are action items needed to accomplish these issues:
- We must develop a communications network. A Communications Coordinator needs to be appointed for each local, district and council. Locals need to try to obtain HOME/PERSONAL e-mail lists of members (members first then bargaining unit employees) to allow for quick dissemination of information not on a government computer. This would be done on all levels, local, district, council & national.
- We must begin a media campaign but need training on how to write letters to the editors, speak before cameras, etc. National will develop a media kit and begin training of local representatives at local, district, council or national training conferences. Also looking at "train the trainer" techniques. National will look at developing templates to get out to everyone to use as a starting point. The Communications coordinators would all work together to get information out to the media, to set up the local media contacts and coordinate press releases and TV appearances.
- We must each appoint Legislative Coordinators. It is envisioned that these coordinators would also work at all levels of the organization and coordinate with each other and with the Communications coordinator. They would be responsible for setting up meetings with our congressional representatives, ensuring that our members and officers know and understand AFGE's position on issues, etc.
This is just a quick synopsis of the meeting, the NEC went on to meet and prioritize the budget on Monday & Tuesday, I had to leave and come home Monday but several stayed for the meeting. I have a conference call with Bobby Harnage and the DEFCON group this afternoon to discuss DEFCON's budget (they have budgeted several grassroots training sessions for this coming year for DOD locals but are expanding to include Bargaining Council reps).
I need each local to appoint and identify a communications coordinator and legislative coordinator. I am also looking for volunteers for the Council Communications and Legislation Coordinators (must have personal e-mail accounts and be willing to donate many personal hours to this endeavor) . Also need each local to begin collecting personal e-mail addresses of members. Please let me know (through the RVP) of each local's appointments as soon as possible.
As you know the Legislative conference is in a couple of weeks and this would be a good time to get these individuals started. There is also a DEFCON meeting the 2 days prior to the Leg. conf. Additionally the DEFCON is coordinating a National plan to hold something in March. More info on that to follow on home e-mails. I have been named the communications coordinator for DEFCON and will disseminate info accordingly.
As you can see, the need for us to communicate on non-government computers is essential.