Romeny on feds in hidden video: cut “a lot deeper”

”Davidson”

Federal employee unions are upset with Mitt Romney for a largely overlooked snippet in the hidden camera video that has recently caused him so much grief.

In the video, taken at a Florida fundraiser in May, the Republican presidential candidate said, “I wish they weren’t unionized so we could go a lot deeper than you’re actually allowed to go,” according to a transcript produced by Mother Jones, which first reported on the video.

Romney has previously called for a 10 percent cut in the federal workforce through attrition.

Romney’s comment essentially acknowledges the importance of organized labor in workplace security. The remark was in response to an attendee at the fundraiser who said: “And my recommendation would be clean house, immediately.” The participant added that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a disaster area.

The National Treasury Employees Union represents SEC workers.

“As the proud representative of about 2,800 employees at the SEC, I know that Gov. Romney is sorely mistaken if he believes that ‘cleaning house’ at the SEC is in the best interest of our nation and our economic recovery,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley.

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. said: “Federal employees clearly do not matter to Mitt Romney. ... I have no doubt that if he’s elected president, Romney will do everything in his power to gut collective bargaining rights and fire as many federal workers as possible. And yes, this federal employee union will stand in the way of slashing federal jobs for the sake of contracting out billions of dollars in federal programs to for-profit companies.”

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

federaldiary@washpost.com

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
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