PA Workers Rally to End Government Shutdown
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
PITTSBURGH - Unionized workers say everyone will suffer consequences from the longest government shutdown in history, and that some of those out of work will never be paid.
Members of SEIU Local 32-BJ rallied outside the Pittsburgh office of Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on Tuesday, demanding that he support a vote to end the month-long partial government shutdown.
Some 800,000 government workers who aren't being paid eventually will get paychecks, but Sam Williamson, the union's district director in western Pennsylvania, said nearly 600 SEIU members working for government contractors in Washington, D.C., and New York will never be paid for the lost work time.
"Unlike direct federal employees who, in past shutdowns, have always received back pay for the time that they've lost," he said, "that's never been the case for contracted workers."
At issue is the Trump administration's call for building more miles of wall on the U.S./Mexico border, which the president has called a matter of national security. Opponents have said it would not prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the country.
Williamson maintained that, contrary to Trump administration claims, immigrants aren't the ones damaging the economy.
"Donald Trump and Sen. Toomey, and the rest of the Republican Party, are now actually inflicting great damage on Pennsylvania workers and the Pennsylvania economy through this shutdown that is putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work and depriving many more of services that they depend on," Williamson said.
The Center for American Progress reported that in Pennsylvania alone, more than 2,000 workers employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department are furloughed or working without pay.
Williamson said the message they delivered to Toomey at Tuesday's rally is simple and clear.
"Get on the right side of history," Williamson said, "and stand with those workers and the American people, who don't want this needless wall and want our government to reopen, so people can get back to work and back to business."
Information on Pennsylvania shutdown effects is online at cdn.americanprogress.org.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid …
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Freshwater mussels are key to keeping the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean, and with more than half of all species now facing …
BUFFALO, Wyo. -- The doors of five historic community halls across Johnson and Sheridan counties were opened this past weekend for 15 people curious …
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada have triggered poor air quality in North Carolina over the past few weeks, and …
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Farmworkers are in Olympia today, calling for stronger protections from extreme heat. The farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la …
BOISE, Idaho -- Rallies are taking place across the Northwest to support salmon, which face dire conditions in the Columbia River Basin. Saturday…
IXONIA, Wis. -- The public comment period has ended, but opponents of proposed natural gas storage facilities in southeastern Wisconsin still hope to …
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians are growing worried about the environmental consequences of natural-gas drilling in the state, according to a new …