United States federal workers victims of government shutdown

This 21 December 2018 video from Senator Bernie Sanders in the USA says about itself:

Trump is shutting down the government and will leave 800,000 federal employees without paychecks.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

Federal workers thrown into crisis by US government shutdown

27 December 2018

Those most directly victimized by the political play-acting between the Trump White House and the Democratic Party over Trump’s demand for a border wall, which has resulted in the third federal government shutdown this year, are the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay.

The partial shutdown, which began at 12:01 AM last Saturday, is entering its sixth day with no end in sight. National Public Radio reported Wednesday, “Sentiment on Capitol Hill is that the closure could continue through the middle of January…”

It is almost certain that the lockout of 380,000 workers and payless workdays for another 420,000 employees who are deemed “essential,” including the bulk of border agents and FBI personnel as well as airport baggage and passenger screeners, will continue into the New Year. This means the 800,000 federal employees affected (out of a total of 2.1 million) will miss at least one paycheck.

This is under conditions where 80 percent of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck and household debt rose to a record $13.5 trillion by the third quarter of this year, as stagnant wages forced workers to go deeper into debt to pay their bills.

After previous shutdowns, measures were enacted providing retroactive pay to furloughed workers and those forced to work without pay, but there is no guarantee that will happen this time. Moreover, many thousands of janitors, food service workers and others who work at federal facilities are contract workers, who often have not been repaid for missed work due to shutdowns.

The stalemate between the White House and the Democrats is not a principled struggle over immigration policy or any other issue. Last week, Trump reversed his previous agreement to sign a bipartisan “continuing resolution” that would have extended funding to nine federal departments and numerous agencies until February 8 without providing money for the wall, after he came under fierce attack from ultra-right talk radio and the far-right Republican Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.

He decided to trigger a shutdown of the affected departments over the demand that any spending bill include $5 billion earmarked for his wall along the US-Mexico border. This was a maneuver to mobilize support from his far-right, anti-immigrant base to counter mounting legal and political threats bound up with investigations into his business affairs and the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and collusion by the Trump campaign.

The policy wars in Washington reached new heights when Trump announced he was withdrawing US troops from Syria and cutting the troop presence in Afghanistan in half. This prompted Defense Secretary James Mattis, the retired Marine general and butcher of Fallujah, to resign in protest.

It was only then that the Democratic leadership, who joined with the bulk of the media and military/intelligence establishment in erupting in rage against any diminution of the US wars in the Middle East, dug in their heels on the border wall, declaring that they would not support any spending bill that included money for its construction.

This is the same leadership—Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives and Chuck Schumer in the Senate—that had agreed last January to give Trump $25 billion for his wall in return for limited guarantees that the so-called “dreamers”, undocumented immigrants protected under Obama’s DACA program, would not be deported. Trump eventually rejected the deal.

The supposed stalemate over the wall is, in fact, a phony war of words, with Trump agreeing to call his wall a “fence” and cutting back his money demand, reportedly to $2.1 billion, and the Democrats agreeing to $1.6 billion for “fencing” and other means to further militarize the border.

In this cynical charade between two right-wing, anti-immigrant and pro-war parties, hundreds of thousands of federal workers and millions of family members and dependents, as well as the broader public, are being used as pawns. The big business politicians are aided by the federal employee unions, which are doing nothing to mobilize workers to oppose either the shutdown or Trump’s fascistic attacks on immigrants.

The website of the largest federal union, the American Federation of Government Employees, has a perfunctory statement appealing to all sides to come together and end the shutdown, along with calls for workers to send emails to the politicians begging them to act.

Meanwhile, the anger of federal workers is growing. A Twitter platform with the hashtag #ShutDownStories exploded with activity after Trump, in a Christmas Day address to military representatives, declared that government workers support his action and are calling on him to keep the shutdown going until funding is provided for the wall.

Typical are the following posts:

“I’ve been a loyal, dedicated federal employee for almost 30 years. I love my work. I may have to terminate my husband’s caregiver because it’s so expensive, it’ll rip through any savings we have very quickly. I’m beside myself with worry this Christmas.”

Another worker tweeted: “I am a single mother of 3 with no help. Not knowing if I can pay rent or feed my family next week.”

Daniel wrote: “Broke my lease to accept new fed job for which I have to attend 7 months of training in another state. Training canceled with shutdown. Homeless. Can’t afford short (?) term housing/have to work full-time for no pay/returning Xmas presents.”

Another post reads: “I have family and friends that took back Christmas presents so they can afford rent and food once the paychecks stop. It’s hella expensive to live in the DC area. Everyone I know lives paycheck to paycheck. Missed pay will decimate them.”

UNPAID COAST GUARD MAY TAKE LOANS Coast Guard members who are living paycheck to paycheck may have to take out loans if the partial government shutdown drags on. [HuffPost]

US shutdown could leave millions without food stamps: here.

This 26 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Happy To Shut Down Government INDEFINITELY

Trump is REFUSING to end the current government shutdown unless there is funding for his stupid wall. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

Federal worker: “Democrats are just as eager as Republicans to victimize immigrants

By our reporters

27 December 2018

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with federal workers who expressed their outrage and disgust with both parties.

One worker who wished to be unidentified said:

“Federal employees are tired of being used as pawns in political infighting. I’ve worked for the government eight years and have experienced government shutdowns almost every year. It’s nerve-racking. I especially feel horrible for the employees who will have their paychecks delayed right around the holidays. Politicians think this is a game and don’t consider the livelihoods of federal employees.”

Drew, an environmental engineer at the Environmental Protection Agency, told the WSWS:

“There are a lot of people in my office, myself included, who can’t afford to miss a paycheck. If we’re furloughed in January, there’s a chance we might not get paid at all. I’ve got to write my landlord and my daughter’s daycare and explain why I’ll be late. I have no idea what they’ll say. My wife has also put off a trip to see her mom, who’s been sick, ‘til we know when the next paycheck will arrive.

“But you know what, despite all this I would be okay with the shutdown if it meant a real fight against Trump’s attack on immigrants. Many of my colleagues are immigrants themselves or know people whose lives have been turned upside down. Some of us also see firsthand in our work how immigrant communities and other layers of the highly exploited suffer the worst effects of environmental pollution. They often live close to toxic waste sites, are exposed to high levels of lead in their schools and work near air pollution hot spots.

“However, since I started as a federal worker under the Obama administration, I’ve seen how the Democrats are just as eager as the Republicans to victimize and scapegoat undocumented immigrants. The border is already a place where all rights are suspended. Millions have already been deported. This shutdown is a sideshow.

“I haven’t heard a peep from the union about the shutdown, not even to complain about the near-total blackout of information from EPA leadership. Not that I expect anything else. I remember prior to the long shutdown of the Obama administration they did absolutely nothing to organize workers to fight back. The only thing they did do was give us some condescending advice on how to buy cheaper Christmas presents.

“I also recall clearly how they lobbied Congress, arguing that well-educated federal employees shouldn’t be treated like Walmart workers—implying that we were somehow better and deserved to be treated with more respect. What a load of garbage! If anything, our experience over the last few years shows that we’re just as expendable; that we’re all in the same boat. Our real allies are those who are also being exploited, not the millionaires who line the halls of Congress.”

NO END IN SIGHT FOR SHUTDOWN President Donald Trump remains hunkered down in the White House, firing off angry missives about the partial government shutdown he once proudly claimed to own. And chances look slim for the impasse ending any time soon. [HuffPost]

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS STIFFED Six days into the shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been left without pay. But another group of workers has also been hit hard and may never see retroactive pay: government contractors. [HuffPost]

More than 800,000 federal workers are going into the New Year without paychecks: here.

EPA OUT OF CASH The Environmental Protection Agency is set to run out of money due to the shutdown. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told federal employees that the agency would begin shutdown procedures if negotiations over the spending bill remained at a standstill. [HuffPost]

SHUTDOWN LEAVES NATIONAL PARKS TRASHED Some national parks are being overwhelmed by trash, vandalism, human feces and destructive off-roading while most personnel are gone during the government shutdown. “It’s so heartbreaking. There is more trash and human waste and disregard for the rules than I’ve seen in my four years living here,” a worker in California’s Yosemite National Park told AP. [HuffPost]

Young Muslim men from across the country have spent their weekends clearing trash from national parks affected by the partial government shutdown.

The partial shutdown of the US federal government entered its tenth day Monday with no negotiations taking place between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration. There are no indications of any change in the stalemate until Thursday at the earliest. On that day the newly elected House of Representatives with a Democratic majority takes office. Trump spent the weekend issuing a stream of abusive tweets, blasting the Democrats for a shutdown that he had previously boasted of wanting and taking responsibility for. He combined his insults toward his political opponents within the ruling elite with real injury towards federal workers, signing an executive order to freeze the pay of all two million civilian workers for the US government for the rest of the fiscal year: here.

TRUMP CANCELS PAY RISE Amid a partial government shutdown, Trump ordered a pay freeze for federal workers, blocking an automatic increase from going into effect Jan. 1. [HuffPost]

As government shutdown enters third week. Trump threatens to declare national emergency to build border wall: here.

Mobilize the working class against the US government shutdown: here.

15 thoughts on “United States federal workers victims of government shutdown

  1. Pingback: United States Democrats, how much opposition? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. For a lot of veterans who have served overseas, the road to recovery happens on the trails of our national parks.

    There’s even a phrase for it; it’s called “walking off the war.”

    Well, right now…our national parks are a mess. In many instances, they are even overflowing with human excrement. And why? Because Donald Trump has shut the government down to try and bully congress into building his stupid, racist wall.

    So here we are, Trump has managed to take some of our most prized natural treasures used by veterans returning from war, and he has turned them into overflowing piles of sh*t.

    This is just another reason we are fighting to end this shutdown, but we can’t do it alone:

    Make a $3 donation to VoteVets today and help us elevate the voices of veterans and military family members whose lives have been negatively impacted by this government shutdown.

    It’s our voices that can cut through the clutter and bring this debacle to a conclusion. But we need your help to get it done.

    All our best,

    The team at VoteVets


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