There’s been some buzz lately about Bernie Sanders scooping up some union endorsements from the Super PACs that Democrats like. But don’t let that fool you. There are still plenty of union bosses firmly in Hillary Clinton’s corner and some of them seem to be approaching the point of panic as Sanders surges and the former Secretary of State’s legal problems loom larger. The unions for federal government workers are squarely in the latter camp and the president of one of the largest is rallying the troops with predictions of a coming apocalypse if they fail in their mission. (Government Executive)
For J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the stakes could not be higher this year, however.
“God help us all,” Cox told reporters on Monday of the possibility of a Republican winning the White House to succeed President Obama. “This country will be in a serious, serious situation.”
“There is not a Republican candidate that’s running that hasn’t said they would annihilate federal employee unions and virtually every union in the country,” Cox said.
The firebrand leader cited Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s legislation to ease the firing of employees at the Veterans Affairs Department, Donald Trump’s experience in the private sector and Cruz’s general anti-government rhetoric as evidence of the Republican field’s anti-federal workforce policies.
I must admit, this is some of the best news I’ve seen all week. Cox’s comments on Rubio in particular should be a wake-up call to voters across the country because he’s boldly and openly expressing fear that a new administration might actually make it easier to fire people at the VA who have ripped off the taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars, spent their days downloading porn on their government computers, getting busted for using drugs at the office or just sleeping on the job. This is their major concern, and the people who are actually paying the bills for these dubious services need to be made aware of it. (The “people” in question here are everyone who pays taxes in the United States.)
But if that’s not enough, these federal workers unions have some other items on the agenda which they want to make sure the Democrats come through on. In addition to seeing Cox delivering his remarks on not letting anyone be fired, he told another group that he was aghast at the thought that federal workers might not get a big enough raise this year. And he found a lot of support from Democrats.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., promised to join the American Federation of Government Employees in opening “a can of whoop ass” on Capitol Hill to ward off any perceived injustice against the federal workforce. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., joined Takano at the labor group’s annual legislative conference, giving a passionate plea for federal employees to keep their spirits high.
“I have come here to encourage you not to give up,” Cummings said in a largely off-the-cuff address. “You are some of the most important people in the world.”
AFGE National President J. David Cox renounced President Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent pay raise for 2017, calling instead for a 5.3 percent increase.
“I’m a happy, jolly man,” Cox said as to why he is hoping for the largest civilian pay raise in more than three decades. “We may not get 5.3 [percent], I’ll be perfectly honest,” he said, “but we’ll be fighting like hell for more than 1.6 [percent].”
Cox is ready to “fight like hell” to make sure that they don’t only get a 1.6% raise because every last one of them has clearly earned a more than 5% bump. The union boss may not be aware of it, but the forecast for pay raises in the private sector is still pretty dismal. While some workers in higher growth sectors might average near 3% raises in 2016, analysts conclude that the majority of workers may once again get nothing at all. And those are for jobs where you actually have to perform well just to stay employed and can be fired on a moment’s notice just for slacking off, to say nothing of robbing your employer (and the nation) blind.
Even if you happen to be a Democrat who is out there working for a living, is this really what you want out of your government? Is it fair that you have to work your butt off to earn, on average, 35 to 78 percent less than somebody doing the same job in the federal government while the candidates you support fight to get them even bigger pay raises? If the federal workers are deathly afraid of a Republican victory based on these reasons, maybe they should be worried.