The Washington Post

Feds vent about budget cuts on new message board

The Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), a coalition of 20 unions that represent federal employees, has launched an online message board where workers can describe how furloughs would affect them.

The message board went up Friday and is at this link: http://www.quicktopic.com/50/H/6F5wDrDVdjY

More than a million federal workers face unpaid leave days unless Congress reaches agreement on avoiding the across-the-board cuts known as the sequester. Those cuts are scheduled to begin March 1.

Federal agencies are required to give employees at least 30 days’ notice before a furlough so they would not be forced to take unpaid days before April.

“The Federal Workers Alliance launched this board to elevate the conversations going on at federal facilities all across the country. In small towns and big cities across America, federal employees are anxious about whether or not they’ll have a job to come back to full time,” said FWA spokesman Cory K. Bythrow. “This is more than just a federal worker conversation – it’s a national conversation about how our government serves the people. … Our mission is to share their stories with Congress and the White House so they realize just how high the stakes are for these workers, their families and their communities. Federal employees’ opinions matter, and we want every elected official in Washington to know it.”

One post among many on the message board expresses the frustration federal employees feel as the March 1 deadline approaches: “30 years ago I swore an oath of office as a federal employee. And for 30 years I have upheld that oath. I agreed to lower than industry wages for years; I was grateful for the attempt at locality pay (never quite caught up in Boston); I have even endured the recent lack of cost-of-living increases and the disappearance of ‘bonuses’ for going above and beyond; I am at the end of my rope. This is going to HURT! And I may even end up losing my house. Really? This is what 30 years of service bought me?”

federaldiary@washpost.com

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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