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Let’s Bring Out the World’s Smallest Violin for Federal Workers

Public unions want their members paid for not working during a government shut down.

by
Rick Moran

Bio

September 29, 2013 - 11:50 am

You really have to feel for federal workers. They feel so put upon because of sequestration, budget cuts, and other indignities like being criticized for holding meetings and conferences at extravagant resorts.

Now, on top of all that, the government is going to shut down. You might think they’d be grateful for the vacation, but no; they are demanding that back pay be given them for the time they’re off, even if they aren’t working.

The Hill:

Federal worker unions are lobbying lawmakers for back pay in the event of a government shutdown.

They say government employees have suffered enough under the cutbacks from sequestration, and are putting pressure on President Obama to ensure that retroactive pay will be given if federal agencies close their doors on Tuesday.

“We are trying to maintain pressure on this White House that in the event of a government shutdown, that any negotiated settlement includes an agreement that all federal employees — essential and non-essential alike — get paid when the government reopens,” said Matt Biggs, legislative director for the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

On Friday, federal agencies began outlining who will and will not be furloughed during a shutdown. Some union officials estimate roughly 800,000 workers could be sent home as supervisors keep only “essential” personnel in the office.

Unions say a shutdown would add insult to injury for workers who have been living under a pay freeze for three years.

“We think we have seen this movie before. We go through it every couple of years,” said Bob Silverman, president of the American Foreign Service Association (ASFA). “It’s embarrassing for the U.S. overseas when you have to explain to people that the U.S. government may have to shut down, we may have stay at home. It’s of course demoralizing.”

The unions are going on offense against the shutdown with demonstrations intended to highlight the impact on federal services.

ASFA, which represents members of the U.S. Foreign Service, protested the possible shutdown outside the State Department on Friday, waving signs that said, “Don’t shut down diplomacy.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is organizing protests that will begin on Monday outside federal agencies and run through next week.

Beth Moten, AFGE’s legislative director, said her union is lobbying for back pay if a shutdown occurs.

You and I might look in askance at people who demand pay for not doing anything. We might suggest that if they don’t like it, they should try getting a job in the private sector. But this is entirely the wrong attitude to take toward our brothers and sisters who toil in public “service” and enjoy perks that rival those that used to be given to Soviet Communist Party officials. We should embrace them, comfort them in their hour of need, encourage them in their desire to receive compensation for their sloth and indolence.

And primary any Republican who gives in to their demands.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Since when has Obama ever worried about a "legal basis"?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who cares if it's legal? The Dems haven't paid any attention to "legal" in the last three years.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am grateful for the vacation. And while I wouldn't turn down the money, I don't expect to get paid for not working. That's why I sacrificed most of my weekends this summer to build up a cushion of savings. Who knew that being a responsible adult would pay off?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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Would private sector workers would jump on an identical proposition, if offered? The implication is not the likelihood of the proposition (unlikely to occur in either public or private employment), but that somehow only public sector workers would ever take the “money for nothing” offer and private secotr employees would balk at the offer.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
If federal employees worked in the private sector, at least 50% would have been fired for incompetence. Federal employees used to make less than their private-sector counterparts, but had far superior benefits. Today federal employees make more than their private-sector counterparts. Their benefits have remained largely unchanged, while the benefits of those in the private sector have (for the most past) been significantly reduced.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
So if those 800,000 or so are not "essential", why are they still employed?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sunday night's news tried to place the shutdown in the worst light, but then not panic anyone.

Tuesday Federal Parks will shut down (oh the horrors!)

Anyone applying for a passport may find their applicationn delayed (as opposed to the swift completion of government paperwork before.)

Social Security checks will go out on time (hey, this is Florida, if you ever mess with Social Security, you take your own life in your hands)

And, um, that was about all the talking head reporter could come up with.

Oh, yeah, some Federal workers may get a couple unpaid vacation days.

The sky sure is falling!
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Trying to gin up sympathy for the poor, distraught Fed worker here.

Other than for the military....the desired sympathy isn't coming.

If the EPA employees aren't at their desks destroying our lives on Monday, if the IRS goon squad isn't bullying ordinary, law abiding citizens on Monday, if the HHS secretary isn't pushing pins into the kewpie doll of Amerikkka on Monday.....

I'm pretty much OK with that. Actually, I'm more than OK with that.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
800,000? Hmm, that's a good start now, how can we get rid of the rest of them?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am grateful for the vacation. And while I wouldn't turn down the money, I don't expect to get paid for not working. That's why I sacrificed most of my weekends this summer to build up a cushion of savings. Who knew that being a responsible adult would pay off?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I get SS payments, but I decided a long time ago not to rely on them. I'm sure the Idiot King will soon announce that SS checks will not go out in October.

I personally hope the federal government stays shut down forever, even if it means I lose all the money I paid into the system all those years.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
He may announce it, but there would be no legal basis for it. SS is an entitlement, not an appropriation, so Congress doesn't allocate any money for the checks themselves, and the personnel necessary to sent the checks out would be deemed essential and immune from the shutdown.*

* I don't know this for sure, but I do know that the personnel necessary to process the federal paychecks for the pay period prior to the shutdown fall into that category, and I don't see any reason why the law would distinguish between the two groups.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since when has Obama ever worried about a "legal basis"?
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
ASFA? Asfa me, I don't care if the foreign staff is embarrassed.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure all the labor agreements have notice requirements for furloughs, probably thirty days, maybe some other period. As far as I know, and my wife is a fed, the Government hasn't given any formal notice. They're just going to tell a lot of their employees on Monday that the eeeeeeeeeeeeeevul Republicans have cut off the money and they have to shutdown on Tuesday so don't come to work or use the inclement weather or other office closure procedure on Tuesday morning to see if they are to come to work. Then the unions will all grieve the lack of notice. When this is over and there is a new CR - there'll never be a budget as long as the Republicans control either body - the Administration will after a decent interval quietly enter into an agreement that resolves the grievances by giving the employees backpay. They won't have to ask Congress because the whole point of using CRs is to make sure that the Acministration keeps at least status quo funding levels rather than accede to Republican budget cuts. If anybody in the Republican caucus in the House knows anything about collective bargaining they'll see it coming and pass something telling the Administration not to give backpay, but the Senate won't concur and the Administration would ignore it if they did.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a draft notice letter floating around my office, it basically says that this shutdown is an "emergency" under federal regulations, so there's no ability to give 30 days notice. It also gives instructions for appeals and grievances.

Our instructions are to show up Tuesday at start of shift. If Reid doesn't fix his recto-cranial inversion we'll have time to shut down the yard and retrieve personal belongings.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Back in the days when we pretty routinely had budget fights in every legislative session, if we didn't have a passed and signed budget, we gave layoff notices to all of our employees on the last day of May before our fiscal year ended on June 30. Never had to actually lay employees off for lack of a budget but came close enough to start seriously planning for a shutdown a few times. Everybody getting those notices crystallized everyone's perceptions.

I was a fed from '84 to early '87 and seems like we got notices a couple of times as the end of the FFY approached.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not all federal workers are created equal.

For example, Embassy staffs not only live at the front lines of the Long War, but the message since Benghazi has been "We won't have your back".

Many of them will be at their desks, nerve gas antidotes at the ready, on Tuesday.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any supervisor who lets an employee report and for whom s/he has no funding is violating both anti-deficiency provisions and where applicable the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as the labor agreements. An administration that wanted to try to keep things functioning would let employees who wanted to, even encourage them, come to work anyway, but this lot will want things as bad as possible.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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