Hump day this week will be a full day of diverse activities for federal employees. Wednesday will begin with a sober discussion of federal pay issues. Around lunchtime, union workers will rally and march in protest of personnel practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs. After all that seriousness, a program featuring the “Funniest Feds” will be held that night.
The Coalition for Effective Change will start the day with a panel discussion titled “Behind the Debate on Federal Pay.” Last week’s vote in Wisconsin will give this session added relevance. Gov. Scott Walker (R) beat a recall effort that was organized after he stripped public-sector unions of most of their collective-bargaining power.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) expects hundreds of VA workers from around the country to gather across from the White House for a lunchtime demonstration.
AFGE says members are coming from 20 states to protest “unfounded and arbitrary position downgrades of patient support assistants, medical record clerks, transportation assistants and others providing vital support services within the agency.”
The union wants VA to place a moratorium on the downgrades.
“VA employees have a target on their back,” said Alma Lee, president of the AFGE National VA Council. “The agency has spent the past two years devastating the lives of modest wage-earners who play a crucial role in supporting medical center functions within the VA.”
The group will gather outside the VA headquarters at 11:30 a.m. before marching a short distance to Lafayette Park.
A statement from the agency said it “has begun a classification consistency initiative to ensure all employees have new standardized position descriptions better reflecting the duties they perform.”
It added: “VA has worked diligently to protect employees, and will continue to make every effort to minimize the number of individuals affected by these actions. VA will continue to provide grade and pay retention to any impacted employees so they can maintain their current salaries.
“VA respects AFGE and shares their commitment to federal workers.”
After all this sober stuff, it will be time to get your laugh on.
Competition for the Funniest Fed will begin at 8 p.m. at the State Theatre at 220 N. Washington St. in Falls Church. This will be the semifinals; the finals will be chosen on June 22 at the Lincoln Theater at 1215 U St. NW.
More information is available on the Funniest Fed Web site.