The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union of federal employees, has voted to reject a proposal to attempt to unionize uniformed personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
When the mail-ballot count was announced yesterday at AFGE headquarters, it signaled a sigh of relief from Senate conservatives and Pentagon brass. They have opposed the idea of unionizing soldiers and sailors. The AFGE action yesterday probably means the end of serious talk of unionizing the military, at least for the next few years.
AFGE has 285,000 members. The vote count yesterday was 151,582 agianst trying to expand into the military and 38,764 in favor of recruiting and organizing the armed forces.
AFGE president Kenneth T. Blaylock, a former paratrooper and a Defense Department civilian worker, said he would abide by the vote. Blaylock put the question of organizing the military to the membership after AFGE convention delegates amended the civiliuan-only union constitution last year.
Blaylock said he still believes the military badly needs union representation. He didn't close the door to another organization bid by his AFLCIO organization later on. For now, he said, AFGE will concentrate on building up its cicilian membership and on improving services to the 600,000 employees it represents in various local and nationwide contracts with federal agencies.
Retiree Raises: Retired federal and military personnel will be getting a 4.3 per cent cost-of-living raise effective Sept. 1. The increase will first shown up in the checks mailed for October delevery. The retiree hoost is a cost-of-living adjustment and is not tied in any way to the "catchup with industry" raise to active duty federal civilian and military people.