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Stop the shutdown! Keep calling, writing Congress

end-the-shutdownUpdate: OLYMPIA (Oct. 14, 2013) — The following announcement is from the Washington Federation of State Employees, Council 28:

As the impasse in Washington caused by Speaker John Boehner and his Republican majority drags on, it’s time in this Washington to say, “Enough is enough!” If you’re in the Olympia area Monday, you can do just that.

Join with AFSCME and other unions this Monday, Oct. 14 at noon at the footbridge overpass over Capitol Way on the Capitol Campus. AFSCME is sponsoring the rally. Join us and speak out against the backward members of Congress shutting down our government and punishing hard working families.

We deserve better!

SEATTLE (Oct. 10, 2013) — Enough is enough. Republicans in Congress have shut down the federal government for 10 days now in a failed attempt to repeal a law that they don’t have the votes or the public support to repeal.

afge-end-shutdownWorse, as the damage they’ve done to the U.S. economy, public safety and other essential functions of government becomes apparent, rather than end the shutdown by passing a clean continuing resolution to fund government operations, now they are changing their list of demands to include, among other things, cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.

TAKE A STAND! It’s time to let Congress know that we are fed up, it’s time to end the shutdown NOW, and our Social Security system will not be your next hostage. Here’s how you can do that:

RALLY THURSDAY in Seattle. A Stop the Shutdown rally will be held Thursday, Oct. 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Jackson Federal Building (2nd & Marion) in downtown Seattle. (This happened.)

SEND A MESSAGE to Congress. Your U.S. Representative’s vote could be the difference between ending the shutdown with a “grand bargain” that cuts Social Security/Medicare and dismantling our retirement security inch by inch, or for protecting our retirement security for years to come. The Alliance for Retired Americans urges all to click here to tell your U.S. Representative you don’t want to be part of the last generation to retire.

WRITE AND CALL your Senators and Representatives. Get contact information for Washington’s U.S. House delegation and our U.S. Senators. Send them a letter — either personal or on behalf of your organization — urging a swift end to the government shutdown and that Congress must pay the nation’s bills. If Congress defaults on U.S. debt obligations, the results could be catastrophic for our economy.

Here’s an example of such a letter, sent this week to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell from Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO:

On behalf of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, I am writing to you with concerns over the current fiscal showdown and impending debt default.

Oftentimes in politics being right isn’t enough, even though it can make for great talking points. Most of the time compromise leads the way to an acceptable if not satisfying policy conclusion. But this is not one of those times. There is no bargaining with terrorists and that is exactly what the Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives are by holding the U.S. Government, the American people and our economy hostage to their desire to defund Obamacare and to exact more austerity on our elderly and poor through changes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Ever since the 2010 elections we have faced one manufactured fiscal crisis after another and have been forced to accept compromises that were, in truth, not very acceptable or satisfying. The American people have suffered through the “Great Recession”, have suffered through the continuing sequestration, are suffering through the shutdown of government, and are now are being extorted by billionaire zealots and right wing extremists who, as we have recently learned, are willing to push us into debt default unless their “blueprint for defunding Obamacare” succeeds.

We cannot allow this to happen. A debt default has grave economic consequences, but a debt default because a minority group of legislators in one House of Congress doesn’t get their way undermines our democratic principles. This is a precedent we cannot afford. We believe that there are Republicans of conscience and good will in the House who will join Democrats to pass a clean continuing resolution, as well as a clean debt ceiling expansion so that our government can continue to function with civility and can pay the bills and debt that our country has already incurred.

Nobody wants to see us default on our debt. But more importantly most of us don’t want to be extorted anymore. It is time to reopen the federal government, repeal sequestration, pass a long term extension of the debt ceiling and then, and only then, bargain a real budget that protects and enhances Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, creates tax fairness and eliminates tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs, and rebuilds America’s physical and social infrastructure.

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!