(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees has successfully convinced the House and the Senate to pass legislation that would compensate nearly 2,000 Department of Transportation employees who were furloughed for two days because of blocked funding. Yesterday, the Senate passed the bill, H.R. 4851, which also extended unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits, which was passed by the House in March. President Obama signed the bill last night.
“Without this legislation, the employees would otherwise not be paid for the time they were furloughed when the highway trust fund was not reauthorized in a timely fashion,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “This bill will ensure that the paychecks of the affected employees are not reduced. AFGE applauds Congress for doing the right thing.”
On March 1-2, 2010, DOT furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay when funding for their jobs expired because of stalled legislation. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) blocked a bill that would extend unemployment benefits and health coverage for unemployed workers and provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which support federal surface transportation programs.
AFGE, which represents the 2,000 DOT employees and 600,000 others government wide, praised Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), for his leadership in introducing the bill that would make sure the furloughed employees get their full paychecks.