October 8, 2013
By Neal Tepel
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has focused on trying to end the shutdown and taking care of furloughed government workers. “If there are problems with the ACA, it should be dealt with separately from the budget and debt ceiling, in a way that’s not going to cause a government shutdown,” said Ruan Mims, AFGE District 12 legislative and political coordinator.
According to Mims, the union aims to ensure members who are out of work can get back to work. And the union hopes those working without pay, such as border control agents and transportation security officers, will eventually get paid.
“Most of our members care about this country, they’re patriots,” said Mims, who coordinates for the AFGE in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii. “It’s not right to use hardworking middle class Americans as pawns over the health care act or any other law.”
Mims’ message to Congress members is to pass a clean resolution which would continue government funding without making major changes to other current legislation.
There are enough Democrats and Republicans to pass a clean CR if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would bring it to a vote, according to Mims.
“They’re playing a game of chicken right now, and meanwhile we have 800,000 employees who are going without work who want to work and who are ready to work and have important jobs,” Mims said.
AFGE has organized events nationwide, including rallies outside political offices and where government employees work. AFGE.org members can find links to call lawmakers, organize picket lines and more.
“As government employees, we’ve already been furloughed this year because of the sequester,” Mims said. “We’ve had pay freezes for three straight years, and we just think it’s not right to use government employees as pawns in a political game.”