Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shutdown...or Lockout?

We are now into week two of the full blown circus that is the government shutdown of 2013.  For some 800,000 federal employees who are being furloughed, there is another word for this situation: lockout.


[lok-out] Show IPA
the temporary closing of a business or the refusal by an employer to allow employees to come to work until they accept the employer's terms.
The only difference between this situation, and the definition from our friends at is that the federal employees do not have the means to accept the employer's terms.  This is because they are being kept off the job by a few dozen extremists in the House of Representatives who do not care about the livelihood of 800,000 people.
The American Federation of Government Employees(AFGE) is the largest of the labor organizations representing about 300,000 dues paying members.  While AFGE President J. David Cox has made some media appearances, and there have been a few rallies on the Hill, AFGE has not yet started treating this like the lockout that it is.

In most cases, when unions are locked out by management, they immediately set up a picket line and pull out all the stops to force an end to the stalemate.  So far, there have been a few small rallies and a membership drive that allows members to earn a $100 rebate for signing up new members.  While I'm all about membership drives, and was active in them during my years as an AFGE member, perhaps a more militant, in your face approach might be appropriate given the task at hand.
My good friend, Bill Preston, President of AFGE Local 17, is spearheading a rally this Friday.  Here is the pertinent information:

Join Local 17 of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) for a Rally at the Capitol to Protest the Government Shutdown and Support your Fellow Workers

When: Friday, October 11, 2013 from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 PM

Where: The West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building  The attached map from the U.S. Capitol Police gives the exact location: It is the demonstration permit area marked # 1.

Who: All Federal employees* and their friends and families and allies, including veterans (Local 17 represents workers at the VA's Central Office)

Bring any homemade signs to express to Congress your feelings about the shutdown.

I've applied for a permit to hold the Rally.  

* Federal employees may attend this Rally if they are:

- in a furlough status;

- taking annual leave; or

- attending during their regular 30-minute lunch period.

Please note that furlough–exempted employees (those still working due to continued funding) should take annual leave if they plan to attend for longer than the 30-minute lunch period.  Furlough–excepted employees cannot take annual leave, but may still attend during their regular lunch period.
Come help make this a successful Rally!!  We look forward to seeing you on Friday!!
If you are in DC and are able to attend, please do so in solidarity with those who are furloughed.  This rally is an excellent start, and I would like to see a more proactive push from the AFGE national leadership.  Let's set up some picket lines and burn barrels near the Capitol and House office buildings.  It's time to take the fight to them and put some real pressure on them to stop this insanity.
In Solidarity,

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