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Federal Union President on Republican Winning in 2016: 'God Help Us All'

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AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. speaks at the union's legislative conference on Sunday. AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. speaks at the union's legislative conference on Sunday. Flickr user AFGE

Organized labor almost exclusively supports Democrats in the political arena, and 2016 has not been any different. The top two federal employee unions have both thrown their support behind Hillary Clinton.

For J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the stakes could not be higher this year, however.

“God help us all,” Cox told reporters on Monday of the possibility of a Republican winning the White House to succeed President Obama. “This country will be in a serious, serious situation.”

AFGE reached out to every major presidential campaign last year with a questionnaire on issues related to the federal workforce. Clinton; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; and former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., all responded. AFGE executives have met with Sanders and Clinton, and Cox campaigned with the former secretary of State in Iowa.

None of the Republican candidates responded to the questionnaire.

“There is not a Republican candidate that’s running that hasn’t said they would annihilate federal employee unions and virtually every union in the country,” Cox said.

The firebrand leader cited Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s legislation to ease the firing of employees at the Veterans Affairs Department, Donald Trump’s experience in the private sector and Cruz’s general anti-government rhetoric as evidence of the Republican field’s anti-federal workforce policies.

In AFGE's meeting with Clinton, the former first lady cited her husband’s experience reforming federal government under the leadership of Vice President Al Gore as how she might approach civil service changes. She also expressed that “federal employees are key” to delivering government service, Cox said.

For more on where the presidential candidates stand on issues important to the federal workforce, click here

Eric Katz writes about federal agency operations and management. His deep coverage of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Postal Service has earned him frequent guest spots on national radio and television news programs. Eric joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 and previously worked for The Financial Times. He is a graduate of The George Washington University.

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