On May 17, 2014, the 14th District of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Caucus delegates, elected one of our own, Stephanie Graf, as the new National Women’s Advisory Coordinator (NWAC). Ms. Graf is the Agency Vice-President for the Employment and Training Administration, at the U.S. Department of Labor. Ms. Graf will assist in the oversight of Affirmative Action programs for women in Federal and D.C. government agencies; the elimination of employment discrimination based upon sex; and provide the necessary consultation, services, and representation to some 60+ Locals in support of women's programs and organizations. Ms. Graf’s area of coverage is the D.C. Metropolitan area and Europe.
Ms. Graf, originally from Indiana, is a United States Army retiree, and previously served as a Union Steward with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the National Council of Field Labor Locals (NCFLL). She is well versed on fighting for employees with barriers to employment, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma, and insuring the fair treatment of all employees.
Judith spent many years as a senior program analyst in OSHA’s Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs. She helped develop and improve the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which recognize worksites where labor-management trust and cooperative action actually exist, at least in the pursuit of worker safety and health. In late 2011 she moved to OSHA’s Directorate of Construction. Judith holds a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh. Defining moments in Judith’s DOL career include
· Reading The Autobiography of Mother Jones and Kirstin Downey’s The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience
· Successfully representing a group of female African-American DOL employees who filed grievances alleging race and sex discrimination in a merit staffing action.
· Conducting a simple analysis of DOL statistical data that showed a DOL-wide glass ceiling above the GS-12 level for female and minority employees. This data was instrumental in the settlement of a subsequent group complaint of sex discrimination. In both cases, all complainants won retroactive promotions with full backpay.
· Helping a mine worker’s widow obtain desperately needed pension benefits by the simple act of sharing information - explaining how she could contact her local office of the United Mine Workers.
· And many years later, after a long period of digging in and not making waves, coming to realize once again that she could not maintain silence in the face of injustice. She took on the challenges and satisfactions of an activist Local 12 Steward in OSHA.
OSHA bargaining unit members elected Judith their Agency Vice President in March 2012.
Sarah Starrett has served as Agency Vice President for the Office of the Solicitor (“SOL”) within American Federation of Government Employees (“AFGE”) Local 12 since 2009. She joined the Department of Labor in 2008, and works in the Fair Labor Standards Act Division of SOL, providing legal advice and handling trial and appellate litigation involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, Service Contract Act, and various whistleblower statutes. She also assists in developing regulations and Department policies involving programs such as non-immigrant guest worker visa programs, employment of persons with disabilities, child labor, and others. She has also represented Local 12 in collective bargaining and ground rules negotiations with Department of Labor management.
Sarah has represented employees and labor unions in a wide variety of labor and employment litigation for over twenty-five years. Prior to joining DOL, she represented AFGE members and the union as a whole in federal courts, before the EEOC, in arbitration cases, and in contract negotiations, as an attorney for the American Federation of Government Employees. She also helped organize a multi-union coalition to protect federal employees’ collective bargaining, adverse action and appeal rights against the Bush administration efforts to dismantle the General Schedule pay system at DOD and DHS, through the discredited and since-repealed DoD National Security Personnel System (“NSPS”), and DHS “Max HR” personnel system.
Sarah also represented federal employees, as well as public-sector and private-sector labor unions both nationally and locally while in private practice, and served as a staff attorney at the United Mine Workers of America International Union. She came to Washington in 1991 as a Fellow at a legal clinic at Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an LL.M. degree in Advocacy, and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Southern California.
Sarah grew up in Miami, and earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA. In her spare time she can often be found on the picket lines singing with the DC Labor Chorus.
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