Federal labor leaders blast shutdown

Federal labor leaders are expressing outrage at the government shutdown, which has led to the furlough of thousands of federal workers.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

“The seriousness of refusing [to] fund the government seems to elude the members of the House who maneuvered us into this lockout,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “It’s anybody’s guess what their real goals may be:  Do they enjoy creating chaos?  Do they enjoy inflicting additional hardship on the working- and middle-class employees who provide services to the American public?  Do they hate the notion of letting the uninsured buy affordable insurance, or just hate the idea that the government is helping them do so?”

The National Treasury Employees Union urged its members to contact Congress to complain about the shutdown and provided suggested language.

“Federal employees have already contributed over $114 billion toward deficit reduction by having our pay frozen for three years and by requiring new federal employees to pay higher contributions for their retirement benefits,” the sample text says. Many of us have already served unpaid furlough days this year and now we are either at home today without pay or working as an expected employee not knowing when we will get paid. It is disgrace.”

Wiliam R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said “this shutdown is shameful, it is unacceptable…Federal employees deserve better. They provide critical services to our nation every day by caring for our veterans, protecting our borders, and preserving our national treasures, among so many other vital duties. They want to come to work and serve their country. We must all stand up and demand Congress do the right thing and put our public servants back on the job where they belong.”

Like other union leaders, International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Gregory Junemann blamed the shutdown on House Republicans.

IFPTE is horrified by the House Leadership’s decision to jeopardize American
prosperity in favor of making an empty partisan political point,” Junemann said, referring to the Republican desire to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.  “This House, led by Speaker [John] Boehner (R-Ohio) and the tea-party caucus, is a direct threat to the livelihood of millions of American workers and their families.”


Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP


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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