Although federal bosses have permission to dismiss workers early on Christmas Eve, many feds are upset that they have to go to work that day. Last week some readers complained about having to work on Christmas Eve but getting off for Inauguration Day. Here are some letters reflect a different point of view:
* "So federal workers wonder why they are the target of resentment from their counterparts in the private sector?
"It is too bad that some are bitter that their employer . . . will not grant them a holiday on Dec. 24.
"Before these unhappy people overcome their patriotic scruples and quit their jobs, let me warn them that here in the private sector rank-and-file employes do not decide how many holidays, or which holidays, to celebrate.
"Dec. 25 is the holiday, not Christmas Eve. Monday, Dec. 24 is a holiday in my office. But only because my employer decided that Columbus Day would not be a holiday for us. One holiday was traded for another. Every year our office closes the day after Thanksgiving. But to get that day we give up Veterans Day. The choice in both cases was made for us.
"I was the only member of my family for whom Columbus Day was not a holiday. Commuting was particularly difficult then and on Veterans Day because Metro provides only limited service on federal holidays. Isn't this a form of discrimination against those of us who are not federal employes? It never occurred to me to write The Washington Post and insult the boss (as many of your federal readers have done). I don't want that much time off!"
A Private Sector Type
* "Your articles on the dismissal or nondismissal of most federal workers on Monday before Christmas must leave most readers with the impression that there is no cost to the taxpayers and only results in lost production. The loss of production at this time of year is probably not significant because of the absence of so many workers on leave. So there appears only to be the kindness of the president involved.
"This is not entirely the case . . . . Some government functions must continue seven days a week. My organization, the National Weather Service, is one. To staff it with essentials the people who must work on dismissal days are compensated at double pay. This is patently reasonable since it would be grossly unfair to those required to work to get the same pay as those who get the day off. The same is true for bad weather dismissals.
"So, dismissal days do create an additional (and unbudgeted) expense to the taxpayers. Are those clamoring for the day off aware of this?"
J.M. in Upper Marlboro
* "As an employe of the legislative branch I would also be affected by Ronald Reagan's determination to downgrade pay and benefits. Unlike the Grade 6 secretary who wrote you recently to complain that she wished she had voted for Walter Mondale because of the president's decision to require her and other federal workers to work on Christmas Eve, I serve at the pleasure of the senator who employs me, and he has given me that day off.
"We differ in another respect. Unlike the selfish civil servant, I did vote for Walter Mondale. I did so because I believe his policies and politics and personality were much fairer not only to the federal establishment but for all Americans. Unfortunately I was in the moral minority, and a former movie actor from California was reelected president in a landslide of historic proportions. I am still bitterly angry at federal workers and others who now announce that they made a mistake. What did they expect?"
R.A.P. in Falls Church