Danny Donohue: We stand with federal workers for fairness

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As CSEA members, we work hard at our jobs and know the value of the work we do for our communities.

While we are always working to enhance the protections we have as union members, we have already achieved victories that make us a model for public employees in this country. CSEA members have fought and won improvements and respect over the years including fair wages, stronger health benefits, more leave time, secure retirements and safer working conditions.

We believe that all working people deserve a fair return on their work, but far too many people struggle to sustain themselves every day. One of these examples is playing out before us right now.
Imagine if you suddenly were expected to continue to do your work without getting paid. I’m sure more than a few of us know how difficult it is to live paycheck to paycheck. For many people, the ability to buy groceries or gas is a week-to-week challenge.

Imagine if you get told to show up for work, but you can’t get there because you can’t afford gas or public transportation. Imagine if you get told to stay home without being paid.

That is exactly what is happening to more than 800,000 federal workers, including many in New York, as a result of the ongoing partial federal shutdown. As this edition was going to press, there were no signs of an end to the shutdown.

Federal workers who have been deemed essential including law enforcement and air traffic controllers, are being forced to work without being paid. They’re expected to put gas in their cars and food on their tables without the money they need to do it. They’re expected to show up for work every day without a single cent to show for it, and they can’t afford to go weeks without a paycheck any more than we can.

Hundreds of thousands more federal workers, including those employed by national parks and numerous federal offices, have been furloughed, meaning they are on an involuntary leave without pay status and won’t get the money they need to support themselves and their families.

This is not how America should treat its workers. It is an absolute outrage that anyone should be told they are to report to work without a fair return, or told not to show up and never be compensated.

This isn’t about partisan politics or policy. This isn’t even about lining the pockets of the already rich and powerful.
This is just about flat-out awful treatment of good, hardworking Americans who simply want to do their jobs every day — just like we do — and receive a decent return on their work.

CSEA stands in solidarity with all the workers affected by the shutdown, including many of our AFSCME sisters and brothers. We urge those in power to stop punishing workers who have done nothing but serve the public and reopen the government. It’s only fair.

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