AFGE Press Release: June 25, 2004

Largest Federal Employee Union Backs Presidential Challenger


PITTSBURGH, PA--The nation's largest federal workers' union today announced its support of Senator John Kerry in this year's presidential election. At a meeting of members and leaders of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE National President John Gage today praised John Kerry as the best hope for working Americans in the upcoming presidential election.

"Given the rich diversity of AFGE, it was important to take our time arriving at this carefully considered decision," said Gage. "Some 40 percent of AFGE members are veterans of the armed forces. Included in our membership are doctors and janitors, pipe-fitters and law enforcement officers, nurses and airport screeners, just to name a few. Our members hail from areas both rural and urban, and encompass the range of cultures and races that make America the great nation it is."

AFGE's political breakdown is unique in that 35 percent of its members describe themselves as independents, and 18 percent are Republicans.

"As the current Administration has pursued its scorched-earth policy against federal workers and middle-class Americans," Gage continued, "Senator Kerry has stood against the wholesale dismantling of the federal government--through contracting out and under-funding--desired by his opponent. Mr. Kerry understands that employees of federal government agencies have found their ability to serve their clients--the American people--hampered by politics and an ideology that places corporate profits over the well-being of regular tax-paying citizens."

Over the course of his 22-year political career, John Kerry has earned an 88-percent rating for his positions on issues advocated by AFGE.

Positions taken by John Kerry on issues important to working people include:

· Rolling back the newly enacted tax cuts for the wealthy while safeguarding recent tax relief accorded middle-class taxpayers

· Opposing the current Administration's attempt to strip millions of middle-class Americans of their right to overtime pay through the rewriting of overtime regulations

· Supporting mandatory funding at adequate levels for veterans' health care

· Opposing attempts to convert Social Security to a system of private accounts

· Opposing the giveaway to drug companies recently passed by Congress; proposes a drug benefit bill that would allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical firms

· Supporting "the rights of workers to form and join unions, including federal employees"

· Supporting civil service protections and collective bargaining rights for employees of the Department of Homeland Security

· Opposing the use of quotas for the contracting out of federal jobs

· Supporting federal employee pay increases and standing up for maintaining and increasing fairness in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP)

"The policies articulated by Senator John Kerry offer our best hope for a return to an America where regular people matter, said John Gage. "The American Federation of Government Employees therefore heartily endorses the quest of John F. Kerry for the presidency of the United States."