DC Federal Judge Orders AFGE President J. David Cox To Put Eugene Hudson Jr. Back On The Job Threatening Cox’s Re-election Campaign
|DC Federal Judge Orders AFGE President J. David Cox To Put Eugene Hudson Jr. Back On The Job Threatening Cox’s Re-election Campaign
by Steve Zeltzer
KPFA WorkWeek Radio
On November 9, 2017, US DC Federal District Judge James Boasberg issued an order that AFGE President Cox and AFGE immediately reinstate Eugene Hudson Jr who was the Secretary Treasurer before being removed by top union officials. They had charged Hudson Jr. with improperly sending out a statement that the union needed to mobilize against the Trump administration and link up with the rest of the public worker unions. They also charged that he had violated the Hatch Act which prohibits Federal workers from supporting political candidates.
While the Federal Judge did not rule on the Hatch Act, there had been a previous decision by the US Office Of Special Counsel that there had been no violation of the Hatch Act in part because Hudson Jr. is not a Federal employee. The Federal judge agreed that AFGE President Cox and his supporters had put together a rigged hearing packed with Hudson Jr. opponents to illegally remove him from his position in the union. This decision not only puts Hudson Jr. back on the job but is a stinging embarrassment for Cox who also faces a backlash after he put the unions Department of Labor (DOL) AFGE Local 12 in trusteeship in October of this year and dismissed four elected leaders of the unit over internal election allegations of improper expenditures and failure to honor the votes of members.
He also might face a political challenge by the former president of the unit, Alex Bastani who was ousted as American Federation of Government Employees Local 12 president as part of the purge by Cox.
The growing crisis in AFGE revolves in part around how to challenge the frontal attack Federal employees are now facing from the Trump administration. AFGE which has 700,000 members is faced with a growing privatization and outsourcing attack at the Veteran’s administration and efforts to attack worker protections throughout the government. There has been no national political education campaign against privatization and outsourcing by AFGE and the AFL-CIO. The only national campaign against privatization of Federal employees was by the American Postal Workers Union APWU led by Mark Dimondstein which successfully stopped the Staples chain for setting up post offices as part of a private business.
Additionally the relationship between Cox and his members have been challenged by AFGE whistleblowers who charged that the union failed to properly defend members retaliated against for doing their jobs at agencies such as the Whistleblower Protection Program which is part of OSHA and the DOL.
AFGE members have also charged that Cox has engineered a racist purge of top African American officials of the union. Former AFGE employee Bill Fletcher who produces a radio show on Pacifica’s WPFW in Washington DC was one of those officials purged by Cox.
According to former employees, Cox has purged all but one African American director and there have been numerous EEOC complaints against Cox’s administration. AFGE nationally has a large percentage of African American members and many of them are suffering from a wage freeze and the attacks on Federal employees not only by Trump but by the Obama administration during it’s term.
The growing crisis in AFGE also has raised the question of a corporate top down structures of many unions. According to Hudson one of the issues is the lack of financial transparency by Cox including the funding of travel by the wives of top officials to the Virgin Islands for union business. The effort by Cox to organize further purges at the union will now be in question as the result of this court decision ordering the reinstatement of Hudson Jr.
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