“We are being treated like pawns”
As payless payday looms, federal unions stage protests in US cities
11 January 2019
Friday will be the first payless payday for hundreds of thousands of federal workers forced to work without pay during the US government shutdown. Hundreds of thousands more are on furlough without pay, impacting everything from federal food inspections to environmental health and safety, services on Indian reservations and the operation of national parks.
The continuation of the government funding cutoff has put other programs in jeopardy, such as school meals and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. Federal funds for cash welfare benefits have also been cut off, forcing states to scramble to maintain the benefits.
With a payless Friday looming, federal employee unions staged a series of noontime rallies at government offices across the United States on Thursday. The actions, which the unions deliberately sought to limit in scope, were aimed at channeling the outrage of federal workers over the shutdowns behind the maneuvers of the Democratic Party.
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worker taking part in a small rally in New York City told the World Socialist Web Site, “Friday will be our first day missing pay. We’ll get half a paycheck since we worked a week into the shutdown. The longer this goes on, the more people it hurts. A lot of federal employees’ salaries anchor their families. Personally, I won’t be able to pay rent come the first of the month. Unemployment doesn’t kick in until next week because of the waiting period, and even then it’s not enough to cover rent, let alone food, utilities and everything else.
“And our work is not…