Feds protest shutdown and Senate GOP at Nats Park

Frustration among rank-and-file federal employees is mounting as the shutdown stretches on with no end in sight.

AFGE National President J. David Cox on the megaphone at a Jan 17 2019 protest (Photo credit: Chase Gunter/FCW)
 

Union leader J. David Cox speaks at a Jan 17 2019 protest (Photo credit: Chase Gunter/FCW)

Federal employees and unions took to an unlikely location Thursday to voice their frustration over partial government shutdown: Nationals Park.

There was a logic to the January ballpark visit, however. Republican senators held their annual retreat at the Washington, D.C., stadium. "We wanted to come down here today to call attention to the fact they thought it was a good idea to come to a baseball stadium," said Tucker McDonald, political director of the American Federation of Government Employees. "They're not in their office, talking to constituents… People are worried about mortgage payments, and they're at a baseball stadium."

AFGE, the Machinists Union, the Teamsters, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the United Automobile Workers, Jobs with Justice and the Communications Workers of America were among the labor organizations represented at the Jan. 17 protest.

"We don't know what they're doing in there," said McDonald. "They could be taking batting practice, they could be drinking a beer, they could be eating a hot dog. But they're getting paid."

Attendees clamored for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to "call the vote" on the bills passed by the House, and chanted for fellow members to "do your job" and reopen government. They also performed a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," with lyrics revised to reflect frustration with the ongoing lack of pay.

Almost a week after the first full missed paycheck and with no end to the standoff in sight, the troubles facing feds are "starting to accelerate," said William Attig, the executive director of the AFL-CIO's Union Veterans Council.

Attig, whose organization represents veterans across government, said that for many working in government without a paycheck, they're feeling "stressed, heightened anxiety, a feeling of hopelessness."

"Our folks are living paycheck to paycheck -- not all of them, but a lot of them are," he said, adding, "we're very concerned" over the external and financial stresses on veterans created by the prolonged period without pay.

Attig also said the shutdown has tangible impacts to the ability to carry out agency missions. Because veterans constitute such a significant percentage of federal employees across government, he said he's worried about a large number of veterans potentially quitting their public sector jobs, or losing out on security clearances because of worsened credit.

Nate James, an IT specialist at the Environmental Protection Agency, said, "what I'm hearing most of all [from fellow employees] is they're in a dire situation."

The extended shutdown " takes it to a whole other level," he said. "Rents are due, car notes are due, tuitions are due, day care is due. ... Nothing has stopped but our check."

James, who is also the president of AFGE local 3331, noted while some of his colleagues are being called back to work, he's on furlough.

Francis Nichols, a pretrial services officer at the Pretrial Services Agency in Washington, D.C., made the point that in addition to going unpaid, any business expenses incurred -- such as parking and travel -- during a shutdown can't be reimbursed till government gets funded.

Nichols noted that "most of our employees are excepted employees," and for some, the lack of pay forces "choices" between personal or family expenses and potential consequences for missing work.

Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) introduced a bill, along with 84 cosponsors, that would give federal employees impacted by the shutdown interest-free loans of up to $6,000.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.