The Trump administration acted fast to undermine federal workers and the unions who represent them. These workers remain optimistic they will gain some leverage back with the Biden administration in charge.
Working on the frontlines and experiencing these changes are American Federation of Government Employees Local 3283 members Joey Graceffo and Dan Drost. The pair joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss what the members of Local 3283 do, the PRO Act, the abilities of public sector unions and more.
What does DFAS do and why were they having security clearance issues?
Graceffo said DFAS was established in the early 1990’s as an offshoot of the services pay system. The workers process the pay of service members and defense contractors.
Drost then took over and said the AFGE has been dealing with security clearance issues since the Bush administration. The administration began cracking down on employees and applicants who had lower credit. While it is not confirmed that anyone was fired for this reason it is believed that it played a role in many terminations.
He later said that the best way to avoid any trouble with the issue is to be honest about their standing, tell the truth and try to provide as much information as possible.
The importance of passing the PRO Act
Graceffo said the Protecting the Right to Organize, PRO, Act has little effect on public sector unions and their members. However, the AFGE stands in solidarity with their fellow Union members in hoping the bill is passed and signed into law.
Drost said they are most excited about the removal of So-Called “Right to Work” laws if the legislation is made law. Additionally, they sympathize with the Amazon workers in Alabama who would have had a better chance at forming a union. The PRO Act would have outlawed some of the anti-union actions taken by Amazon.
What public sector unions can and can not do
Graceffo highlighted the fact that public employees are not permitted to strike and are only allotted a certain amount of time to dedicate to the membership. This time was rolled back under the Trump administration, leaving the pair hopeful the Biden administration will be more friendly to the union.