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National Day of Action to repeal sequestration

UPDATE (Mar. 21, 2013) — Yesterday’s National Day of Action was a big success locally. If you didn’t have a chance to call Congress, it’s not too late. Call 1-888-659-9401 toll-free and leave a message for your members of Congress to cancel the cuts and repeal sequestration!

Across-the-board federal budget cuts — called sequestration — will cost more than 1 million jobs this year and many more jobs over the next decade. But there is a simple solution to make this problem go away: repeal sequestration. It is that simple.

repeal-sequestration-washingtonThat’s the message that will be delivered by Washington working families on a National Day of Action this Wednesday, March 20 calling on the state’s Congressional delegation to repeal sequestration immediately and to protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from benefit cuts. Unions across the state, led by the American Federation of Government Employees, will participate in the following:

STATEWIDE — Call 1-888-659-9401 toll-free and leave a message for your members of Congress to cancel the cuts and repeal sequestration. (Get a reminder texted to you Wednesday for this — and for future Congressional calls to action — by joining the Washington State Labor Council’s mobile alert system: text WASHINGTON to 235246.)

SEATTLE — Join AFGE Local 1102 members and supporters urging Congress to repeal sequestration. It will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday outside the Federal Detention Center, 2425 S. 200th St. in Seattle. Click for en event flier.

SPOKANE — Join employees of the Social Security Administration calling for sequestration repeal at the SSA office, 714 N. Ironbridge Way, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday. For more information, contact Paul Ausems at 509-981-7271.

LAKEWOOD — Join AFGE Local 1501 at a rally to repeal sequestration budget cuts. It will be from 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20 at the Interstate-5 overpass at Bridgeport Way Exit 125 near Joint Base Lewis McChord. For more information, contact Sherrilla at 253-250-5456.

Sequestration cuts took effect on March 1 and will cost Washington more than $2.3 billion in non-defense funding for critical programs. In Washington, those cuts include:

hanford-vit-plantHanford — Even after last month’s announcement of six newly confirmed leaking tanks of radioactive waste at Hanford, Department of Energy contractors at the nuclear reservation started handing out pink slips on Monday. Hundreds of workers are expected to lose their jobs by the end of the year, and many more will be forced to take unpaid furlough leave.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard — A hiring freeze at PSNS in Bremerton took effect weeks ago and starting next month, thousands of civilian defense workers are expected to begin taking one unpaid furlough day each month — amounting to a 20% pay cut. The shipyard was told by the U.S. Navy it might also have to release some or all of its 921 seasonal workers, who sign on for at least six months a year.

National parks — Parks in Washington state are cutting hours, reducing services, postponing maintenance and cutting staff.

Everywhere else — Most federal employees providing critical public services are facing layoffs, unpaid furloughs and increased workloads amid hiring freezes.

Republicans are using sequestration as leverage to get their way in Congress. Despite voter opposition, they want to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits and gut essential services working people depend on, while protecting tax breaks for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans. The solution is to repeal sequestration — not replace it — so we can put these manufactured crises behind us and focus on the urgent problems of putting America back to work, raising wages and reducing economic inequality.

We are asking all of our elected leaders to:

Repeal sequestration — The Republican across-the-board budget cuts that began on March 1 — called sequestration — already are costing jobs and damaging our economy. Sequestration cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years will harm the economy even more. Congress should repeal — not replace — sequestration. Congress created it and Congress can make it go away. The only way to put an end to these endless manufactured fiscal crises is to disarm the hostage takers, not give in to their ransom demands.

socsec-medicare-not-entitlementsProtect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from benefit cuts — Republican leaders are using their “leverage” to demand benefit cuts, including Social Security COLA cuts; an increase in the Medicare eligibility age; higher Medicare premiums for beneficiaries with incomes as low as $47,000; higher out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries; and deep cuts to Medicaid that would shift costs to individuals and reduce access to care. They would rather cut these benefits than close the loophole that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies ($230 billion over 10 years), or close tax loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans.

Close tax loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans — Republicans in Congress want to give more tax breaks to Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans, but instead we should close the lavish tax loopholes they already have. Start by closing the tax break for sending jobs overseas ($583 billion over 10 years); collecting a millionaire’s surtax ($453 billion); collecting a tiny tax on Wall Street speculation ($350 billion); closing the tax loophole for Wall Street hedge fund managers ($21 billion); and closing the tax loophole for Wall Street derivatives traders ($3 billion).

JOBS NOT CUTS!  The most important economic challenge facing America is the jobs crisis, and the best way to stabilize the debt over the long term is to fix the economy first. Our top priorities must be creating jobs by investing in infrastructure and education, raising wages, reducing inequality and increasing economic security for working people.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!