Washington, DC – In June 2018 representatives from CDC broke off contract negotiations with AFGE. In July, CDC and the parent organization Health and Human Services came back to the table with a draconian proposal for AFGE Local 2883 and their members. Since the Trump strategy is to brake unions, the offer would eliminate nearly 80% of the existing contract. AFGE Local 2883 represents more than 2,000 CDC workers in Atlanta.
“This absurd proposal clearly comes from decision makers in Washington and unjustly interferes with our work, our union, and our rights,” said AFGE Local 2883 President Pam Gilbertz. “We know this isn’t coming from CDC, because they know how important our presence is to the agency’s mission, but we need them to step up on our behalf and allow us to protect public servants’ rights at work.”
The proposals from HHS mirror those from the Department of Education that were unilaterally imposed last March aimed at eliminating union contracts.
The contract proposal with Local 2883 would strip away about 40 articles in the existing contract. It would gut union membership and dispose of congressionally mandated due process rights and procedures that have existed for decades. HHS wants to impose their proposal for seven years – four years longer than case law even allows. AFGE has never experienced this kind of outward hostility.
Managements proposal would prevent employees from being able to file almost any grievance, deny whistleblower protections, and undermine the union by requiring employees to file arbitrary and unnecessary paperwork to renew their union membership. These attacks limit the union’s ability to represent workers. Under this new CDC arrangement, the union would be limited when defending members facing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
“Our agency’s motto is ‘Saving Lives. Protecting People,’ and that’s just what my colleagues and I do,” Gilbertz added. “Our work is vital to our country’s safety and well-being, and instead of allowing us to focus on that, the administration is trying to take away our rights and voice at work. But at the end of the day, we know our rights and we are not afraid to fight.”
Obviously AFGE Local 2883 is not accepting the CDC offer without a fight. This is with an administration that wants to eliminate the presence of unions in the federal government.