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.
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.