The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2023 37 The FSJ on AFSA’s Path to Unionization From the FSJ Archive FOCUS AFSA AS A UNION AT 50 In the Beginning: The Rogers Act of 1924 The need for such sweeping reform had been evident many years before Repre- sentative John Jacob Rogers, R-Mass., introduced his first Foreign Service reform bill in 1919. A decade earlier President Theodore Roosevelt had declared: “The spoils system of making appointments to and removals from office is so wholly and unmixedly evil, is so emphatically un-American and undemocratic, and is so potent a force for degradation in our public life, that it is difficult to believe that any intelligent man of ordinary decency who has looked into the matter can be its advocate. As a matter of fact, the arguments in favor of the merit system against the spoils system are not only convincing; they are absolutely unanswerable.” —Jim Lamont and Larry Cohen, May 2014 Toward a Modern Diplomacy We must attempt to gauge the extent of our involvement abroad in the 1970’s, and then determine the qualitative and quantitative requirements for personnel flowing from such involvement. We must also estimate how the new Administration might organize itself for the conduct of foreign affairs and then recommend the kind of personnel structure we believe will best serve the inter- ests of the American people. … No element of our deliberations was as difficult and complex as those involving the kind of basic personnel structure which would best meet the needs of the nation in the 1970’s. There were many reasons for this. Quite literally the possible combinations of personnel systems that can be patched together are infinite. OURMAN IN MOROCCO PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION MAY 2014 THEAMERICANWAY OFDIPLOMACY CELEBRATING 90YEARS OFTHE ROGERSACT Indeed, we found this had been the history of our foreign affairs personnel framework over the past two decades. We were somewhat handicapped by the fact that the concept of “The Foreign Service of the United States” as a single profes- sional service which would provide staffing for all major foreign affairs had become almost completely eroded. —GrahamMartin, November 1968, Part II A Message from the Board Since the Board election of 1967, the Association has become a force to be reckoned with. It has won increasing recognition from the leadership of the foreign-affairs agencies as the authoritative voice of their personnel. It is forging links to the foreign affairs community in the Congress and outside the Government. In “Toward a Modern Diplomacy,” it has presented the ele- ments of reform which are essential if the Government is to develop a rational and efficient machinery for the execution of foreign policy in the years ahead. It has made tangible progress in protecting the members’ interests. … The bedrock of AFSA’s concerns lies in the bread-and-butter issues which affect the conditions of work and daily life of every member. The Board will have proposals to make on a number of these. Both because it symbolizes existing inequities and because members are out of pocket every time they move to a new assignment, the transfer allowance will rank first on this list. … The Board takes office at a time when the leadership of the foreign affairs agencies is searching for answers to the questions which the Association has raised. As an organization of men and