February 08, 2017

Hirono Leads Pledge to Fight Unfair Trump Attacks on Federal Workers

14 Senate Democrats add support to resolution outlining “Five Fights for Federal Employees”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono and 14 Senate Democrats unveiled their “Five Fights for Federal Employees,” a proposal to protect current and retired government workers from ideologically motivated attacks from Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration.

This resolution is a statement of principles that Senate Democrats intend to use to fight back against Republican attacks on the federal workforce. These principles include a commitment to defend fair pay and earned benefits, oppose the erosion of essential protections that ensure the professionalism and independence of the civil service, and prevent the outsourcing of essential government functions to private contractors.

“When it comes to federal workers, it’s clear that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are operating with alternative facts,” said Senator Hirono. “We have fewer federal workers than we had 50 years ago, and 85 percent of them work outside the beltway. They keep us safe, inspect our food and medicine, and preserve our national parks. They make a big difference in the lives of the people and communities they serve. I will continue to fight against any attempt the administration makes to deny these public servants the benefits they’ve earned.”

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) cosponsored the resolution.

“Time after time our public servants, mostly middle class and struggling to get by like so many other Americans, have been asked to do more with less resources. They have repeatedly been asked to carry extraordinary burdens, including program cuts and pay freezes, while contributing over $180 billion (and counting) to deficit reduction – far more than their share,” said Senator Cardin. “Federal workers are patriotic and dedicated public servants in every community across the Nation who simply want to do their jobs on behalf of the American people. They shouldn’t suffer because of partisan gamesmanship.”

“Our federal government cannot function without the hard-working men and women who report to work around the country every day to make sure America is open for business,” said Senator Carper. “Recent rhetoric in Congress and recent executive actions, such as President Trump’s hiring freeze, harm the federal government’s ability to maintain a first-class workforce. They also make it harder for us to invest in improvements that result in better outcomes for less money. I’ve joined Senator Hirono and our colleagues on this important resolution because we have a responsibility to reject short-sighted political moves and instead focus on efforts that improve and enhance our labor force.”

“Federal workers keep our country and our communities running, keeping us safe, informed, and healthy,” said Senator Durbin. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues to defend today and every day moving forward the deserved and hard earned pay and benefits of these public servants.”

“Maryland is home to 120,000 civil servants who work every day to secure our borders, provide Social Security and Veterans benefits, and perform life-saving research. We should be supporting their efforts and looking for ways to strengthen our federal workforce, not tearing them down at every turn,” said Senator Van Hollen. “I’m proud to join my colleagues today to say we stand with federal employees and the work they do for all Americans.”

“So many of our federal employees go above and beyond the call of duty every day to keep the government running, usually with little recognition and less fanfare,” said Senator Warner. “We owe it to them to keep our promises. I will strongly oppose any efforts in Congress or by the Executive Branch to diminish the value of their service or deny federal workers access to the fair pay, benefits and protections they have earned.”

A number of prominent labor unions and organizations support this proposal, including AFGE, AFSCME, IFPTE, NARFE, NWSEO, and NTEU.

“On behalf of the 90,000 members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), I support Senator Hirono’s resolution recognizing the contributions of federal employees and pledging to fight against all legislative attacks aimed at our nation’s civilian workers,” said Gregory Junemann, IFPTE President.

“The federal workers here in Hawaii applaud Senator Hirono for leading such a comprehensive resolution that aims to protect our compensation, retirement, health care, and overall worker protections.  We thank her for her steadfast support of our work, and our jobs,” said IFPTE Local 121 President, Jamie Hiranaka.

“NARFE applauds Senator Hirono's efforts to recognize the value the federal workforce provides to the American public, and to fight back against actions that would weaken it and scapegoat these hard-working public servants,” said NARFE President Richard G. Thissen.

"The men and women of the National Weather Service work 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to ensure that the American people receive warnings of severe weather. Like many other highly trained scientists and professional employed by the Federal government, they could have chosen less demanding and more highly paid jobs elsewhere, and would be at home on Christmas morning instead of issuing blizzard warnings. They appreciate the recognition that Senator Hirono’s resolution offers,” said Dan Sobien, President of NWSEO.