US Army CivilianWorkersin Germany Vote to Join AFGE Union

Nearly 200 US Army civilian workers in Germany voted to join the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union, expanding representation and improving working conditions. The vote includes 163 non-appropriated fund employees and 36 IT staffers, marking a significant shift in the labor landscape for federal employees overseas.

author-image
Wojciech Zylm
New Update
US Army CivilianWorkersin Germany Vote to Join AFGE Union

US Army CivilianWorkersin Germany Vote to Join AFGE Union

Nearly 200 US Army civilian workers in Germany have voted to join the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union in a significant move to expand their representation and improve working conditions. The vote, which took place on Wednesday, includes 163 non-appropriated fund employees at the Army's Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and 36 information technology staffers at the Army Enterprise Service Desk, 2nd Signal Brigade in Kaiserslautern. The elections were tallied on May 1, coinciding with International Workers' Day.

Why this matters: This development marks a significant shift in thelabor landscape for federal employees overseas, potentially paving the way for improved working conditions and greater representation for thousands of workers. As the union continues to expand its reach, it may also lead to increased scrutiny of labor practices and treatment of foreign nationals working on US bases in Europe.

The new groups of employees will be part of AFGE Local 14, which was established last year to expand representation to thousands of federal employees working for US agencies overseas. AFGE National President Everett Kelley welcomed the new additions, stating, "As many workers across the globe celebrate International Workers' Day today, AFGE is proud to welcome these federal employees working overseas to our union family." Kelley emphasized the significance of the workers' decision, noting, "By joining AFGE, these employees are affiliating with the fastest growing large labor union in America and improving our ability to fight for them and all our members."

AFGE District 14 National Vice President Ottis Johnson Jr. added, "Employees everywhere deserve to have a voice in their working conditions, and with today's votes these employees are joining the growing movement of organizing workers across the federal and private sectors." This development follows a similar vote in December, where 389 Army and Air Force Exchange Services workers in the Kaiserslautern Military Community also joined the AFGE. The union expects more votes on membership by federal government employees in Europe, with an estimated 10,000 federal workers eligible to join.

The move to offer membership to federal civilian workers came in response to dozens of complaints, mostly from Defense Department employees, regarding issues such as bait-and-switch practices, lack of work-life balance, and last-minute schedule changes. Additionally, there have been reports of disparities in treatment between US citizens and foreign nationals working on US bases in Europe. AFGE District 14 reminds all federal employees that federal law protects the right to form unions at federal workplaces, and federal agencies should not be intervening in such efforts.

Federal employees stationed in Europe who are not already represented by an AFGE local are encouraged to contact District 14 to get an election going at their worksite. Employees can learn more and join today by visiting www.afge.org/Europe. For specific questions or concerns, federal employees in Europe can call the legal rights attorney based in Germany at +49 151 4427 8841. The AFGE, which represents around 750,000 workers in almost every agency of the federal government, now has over 930 locals, including Local 14.

The union continues to expand its representation of federal employees working in Europe, remaining committed to fighting for the rights and working conditions of its members, both in the United States and abroad. AFGE National President Everett Kelley underscored the union's dedication, stating,"AFGE is proud to welcome these federal employees working overseas to our union family."

Key Takeaways

  • 200 US Army civilian workers in Germany vote to join AFGE union.
  • This marks a significant shift in labor landscape for federal employees overseas.
  • New members include Edelweiss Lodge and Resort and Army Enterprise Service Desk staff.
  • AFGE expects more votes on membership by federal government employees in Europe.
  • Move aims to improve working conditions and representation for thousands of workers.