Krems now is on furlough. Her husband, a defense contractor in a federal building, also is shut out.
“We just discovered we will have no income,” she said.
Perhaps it’s not the best time to ask her and her colleagues, even those who will continue working, if Uncle Sam is a good, reliable employer.
Those lucky enough to be excepted from the furlough still feel for their co-workers. Kita Davis works in the Labor Department solicitor’s office and will remain at her post. As her colleagues were preparing to leave, she told about seeing one place flowers in a box to take home during the shutdown.
“It’s very sobering,” Davis said.
Employees “should not have to suffer for the incompetence of Congress,” said Eddie Eitches, president of AFGE’s Council 222, which represents HUD staffers. “This is a lockout, pure and simple. This is another direct attack on federal workers.”
International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers President Gregory Junemann urged them to fight back.
“Since the House of Representatives is kicking you out the door, you should take to the streets, let your voices be heard, and remind them that ultimately it is you who will decide their fate, not the other way around.”
Members of Congress, by the way, continue to be paid, while so many of the employees they oversee do not.
The National Treasury Employees Union urged its members to complain to Congress and provided a sample letter.
“I am asking you to consider the damage you are causing,” it reads.
William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said, “This shutdown is shameful, it is unacceptable. . . . Federal employees have already endured three years of frozen pay, cuts to retirement benefits, and over a week of unpaid furlough days. They have given more than their fair share. Even more furloughs under this shutdown will be the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
It certainly seems to have broken the spirit of some.
The shutdown debacle left Pam Marcus, a Department of Health and Human Services employee, “embarrassed to be an American.”
“I am embarrassed to be affiliated professionally with the U.S. federal government,” she said.
Congress can change that. Respect the feds.
For previous columns, go to wapo.st/JoeDavidson.