The Foreign Service Journal, April 2023

10 APRIL 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Hats Off to the Young Turks Thanks for the excellent history of those foundational years of AFSA as described by Ambassador Tom Boyatt in the January-February FSJ , “When Light- ning Struck Twice: How AFSA’s ‘Young Turks’ Launched the Union. ” It brings back memories of my first years as an FSO. I am proud to have been a foot soldier in that fight. I returned from my first overseas assignment in 1969 and joined the Junior Foreign Service Officers Club (JFSOC). As in the rest of my career, I was odd man out because I favored AFSA over AFGE in JFSOC, which was also con- flicted. I don’t recall, but that may have been why JFSOC named me as its rep on the delegation Bill Harrop headed to negotiate with Bill Macomber; the meet- ings were aborted after Nixon decided to issue the executive order on federal unionization. Those were heady years of change, but the Foreign Service benefited from the leadership of those Young Turks. The cream of the Service had come to the top early with Tom Boyatt, Lannon Walker, Charlie Bray, Bill Harrop, Tex Harris, Hank Cohen, and others, as demonstrated by their later careers. My hat is off to all those who led that bountiful effort. They are as responsible for the advancement of the Foreign Ser- vice as were the 1924 Rogers Act and the 1946 and 1980 acts. Ted McNamara Ambassador, retired Bethesda, Maryland AFSA and the Junior Foreign Service Officers Club From 1973 to 1975, I had the plea- sure of serving on the AFSA Board that Tom Boyatt chaired, while concurrently being a member of the leader- ship committee of the Junior Foreign Service Officers Club (JFSOC). As Tom indicates in his article on how the “Young Turks” launched AFSA into union representa- tion, JFSOC had shared the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) view on how the new union should be organized. The AFSA view prevailed, however; and, to its credit, AFSA reached out to JFSOC to invite it to propose a candidate for the 1973 AFSA Board elections. In my pre–Foreign Service life, I had been both a Teamster and an unfair labor prac- tices investigator for the National Labor Relations Board. My views on what labor representation entailed sometimes led even the Young Turks to blanche. I remember once overhearing Tom remark, half jocularly and half plaintively, that he wasn’t used to being outflanked on the left. This may have been after I pro- posed putting a picket line up outside the C Street entrance to the building. Tom also recounts the difficulty some elements of State management had in adjusting to negotiating with a union. As chairman of AFSA’s Members’ Interests committee, which dealt with dollars-and- cents issues such as per diem rates and moving expenses, I had a close look at those adjustment problems. My management counterparts at one point put an “offer” on the table for a ben- efit and gave me two days to accept it as presented, claiming that was the deadline for the department’s budget submission and AFSA could either accept it as offered or the benefit would be lost. I used “Teamster” rather than a For- eign Service term to let them know that they were not negotiating in good faith and were committing an unfair labor practice. We were compelled to accept the offer, but the AFSA Board agreed with my pro- posal to file an unfair labor practices complaint, the first ever filed against the State Department. In due course, we won the case, and the judge required State to issue a notice departmentwide and to all embassies admitting that it had been guilty and promising to sin no more. Larry Eagleburger, then the under secretary for management, had to sign the notice. He was reportedly not happy about having to admit to an unfair labor practice that he had not committed. I suspect he had some choice words for lower manage- ment, which would have impressed them more than the notice itself. I was happy with that win, but secretly would still have loved to see a picket line at C Street. Maybe sometime in the next 50 years. Raymond Smith FSO, retired Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Kudos for the Union Edition The January-February edition of the Journal is an important and brilliant narrative honoring AFSA’s 50 years as a union. That event changed forever the shape, culture, and importance of the U.S. Foreign Service. The Journal edition for the union anni- versary comes at a moment when many of those who helped effect that change— the “Young Turks” and those who fol- lowed—are passing from the scene. It will enlighten their successor generations on how our unique employee management system came into being.