Feds mark Labor Day, union strength

Federal employee unions celebrated their rising popularity with the public and across agencies—and invited more feds to join as full members.

Over Labor Day weekend, federal employee organizations talked up their record strength—and publicized efforts to attract more members from the workforce to join up.

The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) emphasized up front: union popularity is way up in recent years.

“Support for labor unions is at a 57-year high, according to a new Gallup poll,” the union said in its ‘Labor Day Message.’ “The poll reveals that 71 percent of Americans support labor unions, with six percent identifying as part of a union and 16 percent having a union member in their household.”

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—which also represents thousands of federal employees—seconded NTEU in trumpeting the same recent poll, adding that support for labor hasn’t been this strong for over half a century!

“As workers continue to organize throughout the country – from cultural institutions to Starbucks and Amazon – Americans’ approval of labor unions continues to rise,” AFSCME said this week. “According to the latest annual Gallup poll on union favorability, released [this week], 71% of Americans approve of labor unions—the highest rate in nearly 60 years.”

“Happy Labor Day to you and your families,” declared the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). “This weekend is a celebration of you, and the critical work you do for the American people every day.”

NFFE recognized its broad membership across numerous agencies—specifying them by name, including DOD, DHS, Forest Service and others—ending on a note of solidarity and celebration: “Brothers and Sisters, thank you for the work you do, and for being dedicated members of our great Union. As always: We work for America every day!”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) also sent powerful signals of federal employee—and all-worker—solidarity in the lead-up to this Labor Day weekend.

In recent weeks, the union has published a piercing and short history of AFGE (and a sketch of organized labor) in the federal workforce, celebrating the resulting betterment of the lives of both employee families and those of the American public at large.

“From humble beginnings as a tiny union 90 years ago, today we are the country’s largest union representing federal and D.C. government employees,” AFGE noted in the first part of the history. “Without the will of AFGE members standing firmly together to fight the odds, we wouldn’t be here today.” You can access links to all parts of this sharply written account on the union’s website, here.

All of the major unions are of course seeking more members, and some note the best road for getting there is for dues-paying folks to discuss the benefits that come to all employees from strong unions (paid for only by some) with those who haven't yet taken the modest step of signing up.

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