February 28, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – President Donald Trump’s January executive order forbidding the hiring of new federal employees is likely to hit hardest at rural and Native American communities, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.
The union estimates that more than 85% of federal workers live and work outside Washington, and make up a high proportion of the workforce in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia. The vacant positions that won’t be filled because of the freeze include a school-bus driver in Zia Pueblo, New Mexico; a special education teacher at the Ojibwa Indian School in Belcourt, North Dakota; a Department of Interior park guide in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; and a Veterans Administration food-service worker in Chillicothe, Ohio. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Jan. 23 that the freeze will end the “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.” In reality, the number of workers at federal executive-branch agencies has declined about one-eighth from its peaks of more than 3 million in 1968-69 and 1987-92, according to 2014 figures from the Office of Personnel Management. Read more