Chanting “What time is it? Union time!”, “AFGE! AFGE!,” “AFL-CIO!” the nearly 500 AFGE members who attended the union’s legislative conference marched to Capitol Hill to demand an end to attacks on the federal workforce and job-and-morale-killing sequestration.
To remind Congress that our Government Works for America, they held signs that read, “Food Inspectors Keep Our Food Safe,” “VA Doctors and Nurses Serve Our Veterans,” “TSOs Keep Us Safe,” “BPAs Keep Our Borders Safe,” “DoD Employees Protect the Troops,” and “SSA Workers Support Our Seniors.”
“We are here to tell Congress that they cannot lift America up without lifting you,” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler told the crowd. “When Wall Street turned our economy upside down, who pays for it? Government workers!”
Shuler was joined by Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Rep. Chris Van Hollan of Maryland, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, National Association ofLetter Carriers President Fred Rolando, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein, andPublic Services International General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli.
“I feel warm here, but so many cold hearted people are across the street. That’s where it’s really cold,” Sen. Cardin quipped to loud cheers.
AFGE members were fired up.
“The main reason that we’re out here today is to get the tools necessary to do our job,” said James Swartz, a Veterans Benefits Administration decision-review officer in Cleveland, Ohio.
“We have to maintain our prisons to keep our prisons safe, properly funded and properly staffed,” said
Glenn Dixon, correctional officer at the federal prison in Victorville, California. He took the families of Correctional Officer Eric Williams and Lt. Osvaldo Albarati who were killed in the line of duty to meet with members of Congress.