American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage is retiring.
Gage, who served nine years, http://militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/afge_gage_060512.pdf">said in a letter dated Monday and obtained by Federal Times that he has decided not to run for a fourth term in August. Gage said he wants to spend time with his family and “contribute to the labor movement in other ways.”
“For once, I’m putting my family first,” Gage said in the letter. “Frankly, I’ve never been able to put the union in the proper place; I’ve never been able to be the activist and simultaneously take care of those who love me. I’m 66 years old, and another three years seems like a very long time.”
Gage is one of the nation’s most vocal supporters of federal employees, and in recent years has frequently denounced efforts to cut federal employees’ benefits, freeze their pay, and cut their ranks.
During his tenure, AFGE was engaged in two hotly contested elections with the National Treasury Employees Union to win the rights to represent Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration employees. AFGE lost the 2006 CBP election by a 2-to-1 margin, which cost it about 6,000 CBP employees it formerly represented. But last June, TSA screeners narrowly chose AFGE over NTEU by 456 votes, gaining AFGE the right to represent about 43,000 screeners.
Gage said he plans to finish negotiating AFGE’s first contract with TSA before he leaves, and help prepare AFGE for the 2012 presidential election.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., praised Gage as “a tireless defender of our nation’s public servants during a time when they have been asked to do more with less.”