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Time for feds to fight back? If so, how?
Monday - 8/19/2013, 2:00am EDT
Is it time for federal workers to take off the gloves? Are the grin-and-bear-it days due for retirement?
Would some kind of resistance or job action work, and would it be the right (smart) thing to do?
And if you take action, could you limit it to Congress without hurting (and angering) the general public? Do we want to be like France, Italy or Greece, where strikes against the public are a way of life? And don't seem to help much.
For the past several years, U.S. federal and postal workers have been the designated whipping boy for politicians who are either angry, out of ideas or genuinely believe almost any government is too much government.
For the past several years, there has been a steady stream of news stories saying feds are overpaid, underworked and fireproof. Oh, and ungrateful too! This has been a two political party exercise.
The White House first proposed the two-year pay freeze. And sequestration too! Congress then extended the freeze to three years. And may do it again. There was a bipartisan decision in the House and Senate — for different reasons — to happily/stupidly (choose one) let the unthinkable sequestration take place. Nobody seemed to ask why — if it was unthinkable and wrong — it was proposed in the first place and then allowed to take place.
House Republicans have worked up a laundry list of bills that would cut feds' take-home pay and increase their health premium costs. Feds have been spared the worst only by the fact that Congress — under both political parties — has had a hard time finding time to do anything (like approve budgets) good or bad. Congress is currently on an all-August vacation which, while we may envy them, may be a good thing for the rest of us.
Urging people to write or email their representatives or senators is fine. But it would be even more effective if their elected leaders were at the office to read them. So, is it time for another sort of action? At least one fed, based in Indianapolis, thinks so. Here's what she says:
"...I have a question for you. Why have federal employees become such lemmings? I realize we are legally not allowed to strike, however, there are other avenues we could take to speak our minds. Writing letters to our Congressional offices will fall on deaf ears. After all, these folks have not been productive in five years or better. Our unions keep telling us they are fighting our fight, but all I see is a modern day mother speaking to her mischievious child saying, "Stop that, quit it." Commanding power such as that is never taken seriously by children or adults. Not to say that our elected officials are adults, because frankly, anyone who spends their time pointing fingers and screeching, "Mine is better than yours," is either a child or realistically-challenged, in my opinion. Right wing, left wing, Democrat, Republican....who gives a crap? To serve the citizens of this country is their job description. Let us evaluate them. I say they are failing miserably.
Federal employees need to have their voices heard. If we do not start showing this country we are not going to take the hit anymore, nothing will ever change. In January, we are seriously facing the fourth year without a cost of living increase. The federal employees cannot be the only...parties held responsible for balancing this country's financial burden. We are in this financial mess due to decades of bad decisions made and enforced by our elected officials — yes, right wingers, left wingers, Republicans and Democrats alike. You are aware of the all of the other cuts these folks have planned. I implore these individuals to start making cuts elsewhere — like the people with their hands out. Earned Income Credit needs another look. It is easy to recognize some of the recipients — a large percentage, actually — who work for two months out of the year just so they can qualify for EIC. These folks are as capable as any of us to get a job!
Any suggestions out there on an effective way to stand up? Federal employees, this is my challenge to you! " - M in Indy
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Nicole Ogrysko
The popular cereal Cheerios used to be named CheeriOats. Quaker Oats wasn't thrilled with the name, claiming "CheeriOats" infringed on its copyright. CheeriOats changed its name to Cheerios in 1945 to avoid any future scuffles in court.
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