DC Influencer: Enid Doggett, American Federation of Government Employees

The American Federation of Government Employees' comms director Enid Doggett talks about promoting the role of federal staffers

What initiatives are you working on?
The Republican House intensified its war on workers in general and federal employees in particular with the proposal of measures that greatly reduce the pay and benefits for the middle class. There also seemed to be a misinformation campaign about the high rate at which federal employees are compensated. Statistics used by some news media included managers, presidential appointees, and unbalanced comparisons to similar private sector positions. As a colleague said, nobody is getting rich being a federal employee.

In addition, our members, federal employees, serve Americans on a much wider plain than generally is recognized. We protect US borders, care for the nation's veterans, inspect the food we eat, and preserve the Social Security system.

Even the business community depends heavily on the services of the federal government. For example, a division of the US Census Bureau that assists businesses with statistics for cost protocols was almost shut down last year because of proposed budget cuts.

How are you getting the message out?
We continue to publish our Fight Back newsletter on a regular basis. We have in-tensified our earned media efforts in various regions. We plan to initiate additional TV ads in the South and we have had protest rallies nationwide. Additional media buys in other states outside of the DC area are also planned.

The follow-up effort will include an "Explain it to Me" phase with ads that include no political reference. The campaign will point directly to issues that impact Americans, such as food safety.

Has the campaign been successful thus far?
We are lucky to have supporters in Congress who understand the value of maintaining a federal workforce to serve Americans. Some of the more stringent proposals to restrict federal pay have been taken off the table.

For instance, the Senate rejected, by a 41-57 vote, an amendment to the transportation bill that would have frozen federal pay for the third year. We believe that is at least due in part to our organization's efforts.

Also, as the result of news coverage in outlets including USA Today, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Huffington Post, we believe the public is better educated about federal pay issues.

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