October 4, 2013
Federal workers, public pay the price of Tea Party extremism
This week a minority of extremists within the House Republican caucus led by Rep. Mark Meadows, a freshman congressman from Western North Carolina, followed their obsession with taking away affordable health care for millions of poor and middle class Americans to the brink of ruin for their party and us all by refusing to fund the federal government unless they get their way.
Instead of bucking this Tea Party tyranny and allowing the majority in the U.S. House to rule – by which Democrats and enough Republicans would be allowed to vote on a Senate-passed resolution to continue funding the government – House Speaker John Boehner blinked, opting to allow the government to shut down for lack of funding instead.
What do these hostage takers demand? They want what they could not win through the normal democratic process.
House Republicans want the President to agree to strip funding for the Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”). Keep in mind that the law passed both houses of Congress, was signed by the President, and was upheld by the Supreme Court. It has been the law now three years, was the main point of contention in the last presidential election, and the centerpiece of which went into effect on October 1st – despite the shutdown.
Now over 800,000 federal workers – 85% of whom live outside the Washington, DC metro-area – including thousands of workers in North Carolina are locked out of their jobs, unable to serve the public or bring home a paycheck to their families.
At Fort Bragg alone, half of the civilian workforce has been furloughed – some 7,000 workers. Another 1,500 workers are locked out at the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park. Almost 1,000 National Guard employees in North Carolina will go without pay for the duration of the shutdown. They are not alone.
All of North Carolina’s National Parks are closed because of the shutdown – including facilities along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smokey Mountains National Park – a potentially devastating blow for rural mountain communities during what is usually their peak travel season. The National Park closures alone is costing North Carolina $4.4 million every day the shutdown continues.
Take action to stop the shutdown!
1. Sign this petition
House Republicans are playing games, and the people in this country are their pawns. Don’t let them keep our country shut down. Sign the petition to get our country back up and running.
2. Make some calls
Many Federal Employees have been Locked Out of their jobs because Congress did not fund the U.S. Government. Many more are working but are unsure when or if they will get paid.
Federal Employees want to work and believe in providing critical and quality services to the American public. Please stand shoulder to shoulder with your American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union Brothers and Sisters!
Call your representative at 1-888-775-3148 and tell them: “Stop the Lockout of Federal Employees.”
Then call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell the President: “Stand firm – Don’t negotiate away Federal Employees’ pay and benefits.”
Visit http://afge.org/ for more information and share it with others.
3. Walk an AFGE picket line
On Tuesday, several members of AFGE were joined by former Congressman Bob Etheridge and others for a press conference outside the Raleigh Vets Center, which provided services to our veterans until the shutdown.
You can show your support federal employees by attending future actions organized by AFGE.
What: Anti-lockout informational picket in Fayetteville
When: Monday, October 7th at 11:30 AM
Where: Stryker Golf Course, 1219 N Bragg Blvd, Spring Lake, NC 28390
What: Informational picket in Winston-Salem
When: Tuesday, October 8th at 11:00 AM
Where: In front of the Federal Building, 251 N Main St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
For more info about these and upcoming AFGE actions to end the shutdown and end the lockout, email Bryan Conlon at firstname.lastname@example.org.