Temporary Agreement is Good News for Federal Workers Caught in Ugly Politics

While it is good news for federal workers who were not getting paid that an agreement has been reached to temporarily end the federal government shutdown. It should not be lost on anyone that the shutdown shouldn’t have happened in the first place. The shutdown highlights the ongoing and callous disregard for working men and women that is afflicting our nation. 

Our federal workforce provides the vital federal services and programs that keep our country safe and prosperous and they deserve better. It is outrageous that those who are considered essential to the safety and security of our nation had to go without pay for over a month and could be back without pay soon if a long-term agreement is not reached by mid-February. No worker should ever be put in this situation and left to worry about whether they can afford their mortgage or rent and their bills for necessities. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in the private sector.   

This struggle only highlights the importance of strong unemployment and labor laws, to ensure that when employers show such disregard, the livelihoods of workers are not destroyed. Moreover, this shutdown shows why unions are more important than ever, to help provide the services, representation and wherewithal for workers to access needed support programs and to fight against this injustice collectively. 

On behalf of our affiliates representing many of these federal employees, the American Federation of Government Employees, we offer a heartfelt thank you to all the labor unions, union members and public officials that participated in rallies, events and offered support for programs to help our federal workforce. We also thank the many private sector entities that have set up policies to offer loans or defer expenses for federal workers until they receive their back pay. 

We extend our thanks to the Governor, State Department of Labor and other state agencies. We commit to continue working together with these offices to help assist federal workers –and for that matter help all workers every day – to access benefits and assistance they need.

Mario Cilento, President