Sen. Murray: U.S. should be model employer, not attacking its workers’ rights
UPDATED — Adds photos and WSLC Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson’s comments from today’s rally in Seattle.
(July 25, 2018) — Today, federal workers represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and their supporters across the country are taking a stand against union-busting, democracy-busting executive orders issued by President Trump.
In Washington, D.C., AFGE members and supporters rallied outside the courthouse where the union’s attorneys made oral arguments this afternoon in the union’s lawsuit against the Trump administration for denying federal workers their legal right to representation. In Seattle, federal employees and community supporters rallied outside the Jackson Federal Building. Throughout the state and the country — and the world, apparently — people who appreciate the critical services these workers provide are wearing #RedForFeds today.
Many labor and political leaders, including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson, are speaking out today in support of the federal workforce and their rights at work.
Johnson has issued the following message to AFGE members:
On behalf of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, I want to thank AFGE members and all federal employees for the exemplary work you are doing for our country and our families while under attack by President Trump and his administration. As the president attempts to defund, destaff and demoralize you, you have stood tall for the American people and continued to provide the highest quality services possible. Know that you have the full support of the American labor movement and of our communities. We will stand in solidarity with you every day it takes until things are set right.
President Trump may still be living in a world where he is a game-show host, but we live in a world where getting the right services to the right people on time often is the difference between life and death, eating or starving, and dignity or disrespect. Thank you for all the work you do. You are appreciated, you are valued, and you are loved. Union strong, sisters and brothers!”
Congressional supporters of federal employees will be speaking out on their behalf today on the U.S. Senate and House floors.
“Federal workers go to work every day — performing jobs that often go unnoticed or unappreciated,” said Sen. Murray in her prepared remarks. “They ensure our grandparents receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. They investigate claims of unsafe working conditions or employers not paying workers what they are owed. Federal workers are the nurses and doctors who take care of our veterans at VA hospitals and facilities. They are our first responders when natural disasters devastate communities, including thousands of men and women on the frontlines of wildfires ravaging the West right now. They help protect our drinking water and clean air as scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency. They educate us about our nation’s landmarks as National Park Rangers, and so much more.
“They work tirelessly every day to ensure our lives are a little bit better, and while it is the responsibility of government to ensure every worker is able to go to work without putting their health or safety at risk, earn a living wage to support their families, and retire with dignity, the federal government has even more direct responsibility for its own workers, and should be a model for treating workers fairly and protecting their rights…
“(President Trump) has taken a number of steps targeting federal workers’ right to join together and collectively bargain for better working conditions… The federal government should be a model for employers — demonstrating how to treat their workers fairly and with respect. By treating federal workers poorly, President Trump is sending a clear signal that this Administration does not care about workers and will do nothing to intervene when corporate management mistreats their workers.”
At today’s Seattle rally, WSLC Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson said, “The work our federal employees do is critical to the functioning of our democracy. At a time when it seems nearly every federal agency is headed by someone who hates the work of that agency, and thousands of positions are still unfilled, our federal employees continue to do their jobs. They continue to serve the public, they persevere.”
“This is a cheap political ploy to bust your union, to disrupt employment fair employment practices, and to deprive people in need of your services. We will not stand for it! Your work, your union, your rights, are too important to our country to lose. We will fight with you to ensure justice is done. And when we fight, we win!”
Here are some more pictures from the Seattle rally.
ALSO at The Stand — SSA violating worker rights to execute Trump orders: AFGE — The American Federation of Government Employees is obligated under the law to represent all employees covered by its negotiated contracts, but the Social Security Administration is deliberately and illegally restricting the union’s ability to uphold this obligation, AFGE leaders say.
“The agency is attempting to wipe all traces of our union from SSA offices and deny workers their legal rights to representation,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.