The informational blog for Michael Meserve, Vice President, Western Region, Council of Prison Locals
Monday, March 18, 2013
AFGE Week in Review - March 15, 2013
March 15, 2013
AFGE Members Save 15% off AT&T Wireless Service: When
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Wireless Discount based on a 15% savings on a $39.99 plan. Higher minute
plans save even more.
For Many Federal Employees, Sequestration Means Life and Death: For
many in Congress, starving the government is merely a chance to score
political points from their extreme base, but for federal employees,
sequestration could mean life and death. This is especially true for
those protecting the borders and securing federal prisons. Even before
sequestration hit, these agencies have been so understaffed and
underfunded that their “offices” have become extremely dangerous. Yet
these corporate-backed lawmakers continue to turn a deaf ear or even
engage in misinformation campaign to cut their pay and benefits. “Overpaid? Tell that to the border patrol agents who just spent 12 hours tracking drug smugglers on foot,” said Shawn Moran, AFGE National Border Patrol Council vice president at large. “This is not a game. This is real,” said AFGE Council of Prison Locals President Dale Deshotel.
“In the last month, we lost three correctional officers to violence.
One officer in Pennsylvania was killed by an inmate in a housing unit.
And his murder was followed a few days later by a suicide of a fellow
guard who felt that he could have done more to protect his colleague.
Another officer was shot in Puerto Rico in a work-related crime. We are
going in the wrong direction. This is no way to run the government, no
way to serve the American taxpayers, no way to protect public safety and
no way to treat federal law enforcement officers.”
Moran and Deshotel were speaking at a press conference in Washington
D.C. on Wednesday to detail the devastating impact of sequestration on
national security and the safety of the American public. Joining them
were AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi, AFGE Defense Logistics Agency Council Executive Vice President Robin Nichols, AFGE Transportation Security Administration Council Region 1 Vice President Stacy Bodtmann, AFGE Food Safety and Inspection Service Local 2422 President Alfreda Dennis-Bowyer, and AFGE National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals 3rd Vice President Steve Kofahl. Sequestration Cuts Are Reserved for Feds, Not Contractors: It
is increasingly evident that agencies are disproportionally targeting
federal employees and not contractors as a source of savings generators
under sequestration. At our press conference on the impact of
sequestration on Wednesday, our members talked about how agencies, the
Defense Department to be specific, rushed to renew contracts before
sequestration hit. This is on top of a recent report that shows that the
Army plans to furlough nine federal employees for every contractor. At
the Bureau of Prisons, our members report that they haven’t seen cuts in
expensive contract prisons. Instead, all the cuts are concentrated on
staff and internal operations. As a result, BOP’s plan to open five new
prisons with 8,000 beds will be put on hold indefinitely, endangering
staff and those in the communities as these new facilities were meant to
relieve some of the overcrowding problems. Managers
have been misled by contractors that agencies would have to pay hefty
fees if they ever cancel new work or make changes to the existing
contracts. AFGE Locals and Councils are encouraged to reach out to
management and offer solutions allowed under the law. Click here for details.
AFGE to Hold Nearly 100 Rallies Across the Country March 20:
Federal employees are planning to hold nearly 100 rallies across the
country on March 20 to protest the reckless budget cuts. As part of a
mass demonstration organized by AFGE, the events will take place outside
federal agencies and lawmakers’ offices to highlight the work performed
by federal employees at military bases, Social Security offices,
federal prisons and thousands of other locations.
“Our message is very clear: sequestration has got to go,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.
said. “If federal employees are furloughed without pay, if offices and
plants are shut down, if vacancies aren’t filled because of these
across-the-board budget cuts, then federal employees won’t be able to do
the work that the American public expects them to do.” Senate Bill Would Cancel Sequestration: Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington this week introduced
a bill that would replace reckless sequestration with more targeted
cuts. Her plan would raise $975 billion in new revenue over the next ten
years by ending tax breaks for the rich and big corporations. It
protects Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. It rejects efforts to make
cuts that harm seniors and the most vulnerable families. It invests in
national defense, homeland security, and law enforcement.
Senate Rejects Latest Effort to Single Out Federal Employees for Punishment: The
Senate this week voted down an anti-federal employee amendment to a
spending bill, H.R. 933, which would have prevented all federal agencies
from hiring federal employees who perform “non-essential” functions --
the definition of which is poorly defined but tends to be biased against
the lower-level employees. The measure, offered by Senator Tom Coburn of
Oklahoma, would have prevented new hires but imposed no constraints on
the $300 billion agencies spend every year on service contracts. Most
agencies have already imposed hiring freezes, allowing exceptions only
in very limited situations. This amendment, which failed 54 to 45, would
have prevented agencies from using even that discretion. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland led the opposition. Paul Ryan Recycles Bogus, Job-Destroying Budget Proposal Rejected by Voters: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan this
week came up with another budget hoax, “The Path to Economic
Destruction, Part III”. This is not exactly a surprise, especially after
last year’s rhetoric and dishonesty that earned him many Pinocchios
from fact-checkers and drove “Lyin' Ryan” to trend on Twitter. But the
supposedly intellectual leader learned nothing and yet again resorted to
accounting gimmicks and misleading charges to come up with the same old
budget. He continued to base his proposal on his ideologue that the
government and its workers are evil, and so his job-destroying plan
would slash 10% of federal jobs and cut federal employees’ retirement
benefits by $132 billion over 10 years. It would dismantle Medicare by
turning it into a voucher program that would result in seniors paying a
lot more. It’s hard to imagine that anybody would want to throw poor
children, seniors, and the disabled on the street as millions of them
would be dropped from Medicaid, which would be turned into a block grant
program under his proposal. Millions of the uninsured would lose their
health insurance as his plan would repeal the historic Obamacare that
makes health care more affordable. 107 House Lawmakers Call on Obama to Reject Benefits Cuts to Social Safety Net Programs: One hundred and seven members of the House of Representatives recently wrote to President Barack Obama urging
him to reject any proposals in any bill that include cuts to Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. The lawmakers singled out the
proposed use of the chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living
adjustments, which is essentially a benefit cut as it will reduce
take-home money for Social Security recipients. The lawmakers also are
opposed to raising the eligibility age for Medicare recipients, half of
whom live on less than $22,000 a year but spend on average three times
as much on health care as other Americans.
AFGE Rejects TSA’s New Rule to Allow Knives on Planes: AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.
this week joined the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at a rally on
Capitol Hill to reject the Transportation Security Administration’s
policy change that would allow small knives on airplanes.
knife, regardless of blade size, can be used as a weapon,” NP Cox said.
“Transportation Security Officers and flight attendants stand together
against this dangerous new rule. TSA’s decision to allow knives and
other potential weapons on aircraft must not stand. This rule endangers
our TSOs, flight attendants and airline passengers.” This Week in Labor History: March
17, 1890 – The leadership of the American Federation of Labor selects
the Carpenters union to lead the 8-hour movement. Carpenters throughout
the country strike in April; by May 1, some 46,000 carpenters in 137
cities and towns have achieved shorter hours. This Week’s Tweet:“The
White House has started quoting [right-wing lawmakers] bemoaning the
sequester back home. http://t.co/LBHANvxok” ~ @BuzzFeedAndrew
Inside Government: Tune
in now to AFGE’s “Inside Government” as the union fights for additional
staffing and protective equipment in the Bureau of Prisons. The show,
which originally aired on Friday, March 15, is now available on demand:
AFGE Council of Prison Locals President Dale Deshotel discussed the need for more resources in BOP in the wake of the recent death of correctional officer Eric Williams.
Williams, 34, died on Feb. 25 after being assaulted by an inmate with a
homemade weapon at the United States Penitentiary – Canaan in
director of the Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Program at the National Labor
College, highlighted degree programs and courses offered by NLC as well
as AFGE’s JNS Scholarship.
Democracy for America Chair Jim Dean then
detailed efforts to preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Dean also discussed sequestration and federal employee furloughs.
AFGE VA Local 1843 President Kelvin Flannery and Treasurer Betty Conlin addressed the impact sequestration will have on veterans and highlighted the local’s community service initiatives.
Quote of the Week: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made an epic Freudian slip as he unveiled his ‘Path to Economic Destruction, Part III’ budget proposal:
to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re
not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the
Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO 80 F Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20001 | Tel. (202) 737-8700 | Fax (202) 639-6492 | www.afge.org