Friday, October 4, 2013

AFGE Members Rally All Across Country In Response to Shutdown

Oct. 4, 2013
  • AFGE Members Rally in Response to Shutdown
  • AFGE Makes Headlines During Shutdown
  • AFGE Statement on Government Shutdown
  • AFGE Statement on Compliance with Government Shutdown and Lockout
  • AFGE Commends Bipartisan Bill to Pay Furloughed Feds
  • Lockout Central Online
  • Council of Prison Locals Holds Press Conference in Washington
  • AFGE Named Exclusive Representative for Former Walter Reed Employees
AFGE Members Rally in Response to Shutdown: A huge "Thank You" goes out to all of the AFGE members across the country who have rallied in response to the government shutdown. More than 25,000 members dialed in to the two teleconference town hall phone calls AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. held on Sept. 30. You have phoned your members of Congress using our special toll-free hotline.
Many of you have participated in informational pickets and protests in dozens of locations across the country. Many have also talked to the media, explaining how harmful this shutdown is on you, your families and your communities.
In short, you are keeping the pressure on Congress to put an end to this ridiculous and harmful government shutdown. So again, "Thank You!"

AFGE Makes Headlines During Shutdown: AFGE leaders and activists have fielded hundreds of media calls in response to the government lockout. Union members have shared their stories via local and national news outlets to illustrate the impact of this shutdown. Here are some news stories in which AFGE officers members have been featured.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. on:
Washington Post:
The Nation:

AFGE District 8 National Vice President Jane Nygaard on:
KARE 11 News:
Minnesota Public Radio:

AFGE District 14 National Vice President Eric Bunn on FOX 5 DC:
AFGE HUD Council 222 Executive Vice President Carolyn Federoff on MSNBC's The Last Word:
AFGE District 14 YOUNG Representative Erika Townes on CBS Evening News:

AFGE DoD Local 1592 President Monty Lewis in Utah on KUTV CBS 2 News:

Find more photos and news clips on AFGE's actions during the government lockout on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and AFGE in the News.

AFGE Statement on Government Shutdown: AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement in response to the government shutdown: "The moment we have been dreading has arrived.  The House of Representatives has shut down the federal government, locking out 800,000 federal employees who want to go to work to support the American people.
"The seriousness of refusing the fund the government seems to elude the members of the House who maneuvered us into this lockout.  It's anybody's guess what their real goals may be:  Do they enjoy creating chaos?  Do they enjoy inflicting additional hardship on the working- and middle-class employees who provide services to the American public?  Do they hate the notion of letting the uninsured buy affordable insurance, or just hate the idea that the government is helping them do so? Or is this just an elaborate way to destroy the most popular and successful government programs, Social Security and Medicare?
"President Obama has promised that he will not negotiate to end this crisis, and we strongly support that position.  Recent similar standoffs have been resolved largely on the backs of federal employees, taking away our pay, retirement, and jobs.  This time, we expect the administration to hold firm, and resist the temptation to give in by cutting federal retirement or Social Security.  There is no justification for using federal employees to pay ransom."

AFGE Statement on Compliance with Government Shutdown and Lockout: AFGE recommends federal employees should follow the direction of their supervisors as to whether or not to report to work during the government shutdown and the lockout of large segments of the federal workforce. While the union believes the shutdown may be illegal or unconstitutional, those issues will have to be determined through the normal legal avenues. In the meantime:
  • If you are told by management at your agency that your position is considered "essential" or "emergency" or "excepted" or words to that effect, and that you are required to report to work, you should do so;
  •  If you are told your position is not essential, excepted or emergency and that you are not to report to work during the shutdown, then you should not report to work.
Please be absolutely clear about this: while AFGE disputes the legal basis for the shutdown, we are urging all our members to follow the orders of management at their agency with respect to who should or should not report to work during a shutdown. Just like in the normal, day-to-day operation, we must all "obey now, grieve later." AFGE will seek to address the larger dispute through the appropriate legal channels.

AFGE Commends Bipartisan Bill to Pay Furloughed Feds: AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. commended House and Senate lawmakers who have cosponsored legislation to pay federal employees who are out of work during the government shutdown. As of Oct. 4, 152 representatives have signed on to the House bill (HR 3223), including 30 Republicans. Companion legislation in the Senate (S 1567) has 20 cosponsors.
"I particularly want to thank Rep. Jim Moran and Rep. Frank Wolf for taking the lead in introducing this legislation," Cox said. "These two congressmen are from opposing political parties, but they both agree that federal employees are not the cause of this shutdown and shouldn't be punished by being deprived of their pay. The fact that so many Republicans have signed on to this legislation shows that lawmakers can put aside their political ideology when it's for the greater good. I hope this same spirit of bipartisanship will bring an end to this senseless and harmful government shutdown as soon as possible."

Lockout Central Online: AFGE has created a special webpage for gathering all the information you need pertaining to the government lockout. Here you can find a toolkit for scheduling meetings with your members of Congress, talking points for conducting interviews with the media, a list of informational pickets and protest events being conducted nationwide, and the latest news from AFGE members and staff. Please note: This page should not be viewed on a federal computer.

Council of Prison Locals Holds Press Conference in Washington: AFGE's Council of Prison Locals held a press conference at the National Press Club on Oct. 1 to speak out against dangerously low staffing and funding levels in the Bureau of Prisons. Speakers included AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., CPL President Eric Young and family members of three slain correctional officers. Jose Rivera, killed in 2008 by two inmates with homemade weapons at the U.S. Penitentiary Atwater in California, was represented by his mother, Terry. Don Williams spoke for his son, Eric Williams, who was killed in February while working at the U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in northeastern Pennsylvania.  Osvaldo Albarati, who was killed in February in an ambush attack while he was driving home from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, was represented by wife, Helen Andujar.

AFGE Named Exclusive Representative for Former Walter Reed Employees: Nearly 3,700 healthcare employees at the Department of Defense who were part of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center have elected AFGE their exclusive representative. Walter Reed was shut down in 2011 under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. Functions were transferred to two new healthcare centers – Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Va. – as well as several other regional facilities. A new AFGE local will be created to represent all of the employees.

This Week in Labor History: Oct. 2, 1949: Joining with 400,000 coal miners already on strike, 500,000 CIO steel workers close down the nation's foundries, steel and iron mills, demanding pensions and better wages and working conditions.

This Week's Tweet: "Boehner can't claim to be fiscal conservative while letting gov't stay shutdown at $12.5mil an hour at taxpayer expense. #BoehnerShutdown" @KRansome83

Inside Government: Tune in now to AFGE's "Inside Government" for the union's reaction to the government shutdown. The show, which originally aired on Friday, Oct. 4, is now available on demand.
  • AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. responded to the shutdown, calling it "devastating" for federal workers and Americans relying on public services. Cox also discussed the union's plan going forward to combat the shutdown.
  • Matt Perlinger, executive vice president of AFGE Social Security Administration Local 836, then detailed efforts to engage younger workers into the labor movement through the union's Young Organizing Unionists for the Next Generation (Y.O.U.N.G.) program.
  • Lastly, Jeffrey Hilgert, assistant professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Montreal, discussed his book, "Hazard or Hardship: Crafting Global Norms on the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work."
Quote of the Week: AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., in an Oct. 1 interview for the PBS NewsHour:
"I actually prefer to call it a government lockout because employees are being locked out of their job. Our members want to go to work today. They want to serve the American public."

American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO 80 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001 | Tel. (202) 737-8700 | Fax (202)

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