Labor Goes High-Tech: Nation’s largest federal employees union extends its reach through technology

The Information Services department at the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) headquarters in Washington, D.C., is seeking to streamline the online content found on AFGE local websites with content and updates from AFGE National. This product, named LaborWeb will considerably simplify the process of creating a website for a local, as well as create uniformity in the entire organization’s messaging and branding.

“The consistency of messaging and branding is the biggest thing we’re going for with this particular product, and we can take the load off of our local officers,” said Taylor Higley, the Director of Information Services at AFGE. “Any time our technology can make it so that they don’t have to do something or learn something completely new, and can instead spend an extra hour a day serving members, that’s a good thing.”

The goal in Higley’s mind is to give new local officers, who have to deal with matters of the union administration and finances on a near-constant basis, a platform from where they can easily build a functional website and get it up and running in between 10 to 20 minutes. On these sites, news from the local will be posted in the middle- but the whole webpage will also include news from the national level of AFGE. Since news from locals may not happen on a daily or weekly basis, this new format will keep members informed in a more accurate manner, and on a national level, AFGE can communicate messages to the entirety of its membership.

In addition to the creation of LaborWeb, AFGE is also incorporating Google Apps to make it easier for officers in local chapters to maintain uniformity and union-branding in their e-mail addresses. This product delivers e-mail addresses for whatever domain a Local or Council wishes to purchase for an unbeatable deal of 10 users for 10 dollars a year. The domain is hosted by Google, which allows AFGE to avoid administrative overhead, and in return, AFGE officers get to enjoy their domain of choice with “one of the best things out there” in Gmail.

With the integration of products like LaborWeb and Google Apps, AFGE is progressing even further into the digital world, and keeping its loyal members up-to-date with important information affecting them and their workplace.

“I don’t think there’s enough awareness about what AFGE is, how big and important it is and exactly what we do here,” Higley said. “With this technology, we’re going to make federal employees’ lives a little bit better and it will be a win-win for everybody.”

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David B. Grinberg

Chris: AFGE is the American Federation of Government Employees, a major and influential union affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Have ever actually worked for the Govt, Chris?