The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

AFSA NEWS 80 MAY 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL 2023 AFSA PAC Report AFSA Hosts Global Town Hall AFSA hosted a series of global town halls for all members on Feb. 27. More than 200 AFSA members listened in as AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi, joined by State VP Tina Wong, USAID VP Randy Chester, and Advocacy Director Kim Greenplate, presented updates on current advocacy priorities and concerns. Yazdgerdi’s remarks covered a range of topics, including recent wins on healthcare coverage for new FS members and current challenges caused by constrained budgets. He explained AFSA’s current strategy of pushing for low- and no-cost advocacy items that are more likely to gain traction in today’s tight budget environment. The AFSA team also covered the continued slow pace of confirmations and member concerns about the congressionally mandated LEPP (lateral entry) pilot program. AFSA uses all member questions, even those not addressed, to inform our future events. The next town hall will be held in summer 2024. n After the 2022 congressional elections and the beginning of the 118th Congress, members of the AFSA-PAC Committee of the Governing Board met to develop a list of potential contributions. With the advice of our director of congressional advocacy, members identified about 30 members of Congress we might contribute to over the next two years. Members of the committee also continued the policy of not contributing to members of Congress who voted against certifying the result of the 2020 presidential elections. In compliance with our political action committee bylaws, we ensure an even monetary distribution over two years between the two major parties. Your PAC donations enable AFSA’s president to participate in events for members of Congress. Face-toface contact is essential to move the legislative initiatives that benefit our members. In 2023, we contributed $7,000 total to five members of Congress, and the AFSA president attended each of the PAC events. Two PAC solicitations went out in the spring of 2023— the first aiding our wins in the State Authorization Act and the second garnering positive progress on pet travel advocacy. n —John O’Keefe, AFSA Treasurer AFSA, GTM Meet with Employee Organizations On March 6, AFSA invited representatives from the many employee organizations (EOs) at the State Department to join AFSA and leaders from the office of Global Talent Management (GTM) to learn how to effectively and legally lobby for changes they want to see in the department and to find ways to partner with AFSA and GTM to reach their goals. AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi, State VP Tina Wong, and AFSA State Representative Greg Floyd led the meeting. Steve Polson, GTM’s labor management chief, attended, as did Sharon Papp, AFSA’s general counsel. The meeting covered talking to the media, engaging with the Hill, anti-lobbying provisions that Foreign Service members need to follow, and ways EO members can promote the causes that are important to them. n AFSA Meets with Working in Tandem On Feb. 14, AFSA President Tom Yazdgerdi, State VP Tina Wong, and other senior AFSA staff members met with leaders of the employee organization Working in Tandem. Working in Tandem strives to help the department attract and retain an agile, skilled, and representative workforce by developing creative, inclusive solutions to the unique challenges facing tandem employees and their families. Working in Tandem represents the interests of tandem employees by providing a forum for discussing issues of concern to these employees. One of the priorities they shared with AFSA is to maintain the availability of remote work agreements (RWA) and to allow bureaus to offer RWAs without higher-level approval to tandem employees whose spouses are assigned domestically outside the Washington, D.C., area. For more information about the group, email n ISTOCK.COM/RIKIRENNES