Partial federal shutdown is harming workers, communities

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CSEA is standing in solidarity with the more than 800,000 federal workers who are either furloughed or are working without pay, as the partial federal government shutdown continues.

The shutdown, which began Dec. 22, has increasingly impacted federal services and showed no signs of ending soon, as this edition went to press.

As the shutdown persists, it’s taking its toll on the hundreds of thousands of the affected workers and their families, including those who are also represented by AFSCME.

These workers, including many based in New York State, are struggling to pay for basic needs, including groceries, bills, their mortgage and rent and gas for their vehicles. While hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed without pay, thousands more, particularly those in law enforcement and essential safety positions, have been ordered to continue to report to work without pay.

“CSEA stands in solidarity with all the workers affected by the federal government shutdown,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “We hope that the people in power come to their senses and stop playing politics on the backs of public service workers who have done nothing but work hard to serve the American people.”

While several unions representing federal workers recently filed a lawsuit to force the administration to pay the workers who have been directed to work without pay, a federal judge recently declined to take action on behalf of the unions, leaving the situation status quo.

The shutdown isn’t the only way that federal workers have been left out in the cold.
In the midst of the shutdown, an executive order was recently issued that freezes federal pay for 2019, including salary adjustments and cost-of-living increases, making it more difficult for working people to sustain basic needs.

“This is not right,” Donohue said. “This is flat-out awful treatment of good, hardworking Americans who simply want to do their jobs and get paid.”

The shutdown is also harming people who need public services to survive.

Recent media reports note that while federal nutrition programs, including food stamps, will be paid through

February, there is concern about long-term funding for these programs. In the event of a natural disaster, federal assistance may be less accessible. Funding for other programs and services that affect our health, including food safety and environmental protection, have been stalled or greatly curtailed.

Like many of our union brothers and sisters, we are urging an end to the shutdown so that federal workers can sustain themselves and a full level of essential services can be delivered.

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