The National Treasury Employees Union is launching a year-long public relations campaign to “change the conversation about federal workers.”

Federal employees represented by the NTEU protest the federal budget sequester on May 7 in New York. (John Moore/Getty) Federal employees represented by the NTEU protest the federal budget sequester on May 7 in New York. (John Moore/Getty)

The 16-day government shutdown in October “gave many Americans just a small glimpse of what life would be like without federal employees, and it was not a pretty picture,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “But even though the shutdown has ended, we are still headed in the wrong direction.”

The effort does not encourage the public to press Congress on behalf of federal workers. Using radio and television public-service announcements (PSA), a Web site and social media, the campaign does seek to create a positive image of them in the public’s mind. 

For example, one 15-second PSA says:

Without us, you should be afraid of your salad.
Without us, our borders would go unprotected.
Without us, we would live in fear of a nuclear meltdown.
Federal employees. They work for U.S.
TheyWorkforUs.org

The announcements are being sent to 300 television stations and 1,000 radio stations in top markets.

This is NTEU’s third campaign   “and each time it keeps getting bigger,” Kelley told reporters Wednesday. Between June 2011 and June 2012, radio, television and cable outlets ran NTEU PSAs 25,048 times, worth $7.4 million in media time, according to the labor organization, which said 292 million people saw or heard those PSAs.

The current PSAs are available on TheyWorkforUs.org. On the Web site, NTEU asks the public to imagine what life would be like without feds. NTEU also supplies the answer:

“You wouldn’t want it.”

federaldiary@washpost.com

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP