WASHINGTON – Hundreds of Missourians rallied today in front of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) office urging her to stand up for federal workers and to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as Congress works to balance the budget. During the rally, Senator McCaskill met with representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Paraquad, Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform, Missouri Budget Project, GRO and Pro-Vote.
AFGE asked the Senator to oppose cuts to federal pensions, extending the federal pay freeze and any effort to undercut public services by cutting federal jobs across the board.
“It’s time to focus on creating good jobs and making the rich and big corporations pay a fair share. That’s the way to generate revenue,” stated AFGE National Vice President Mike Kelly. “Undermining retirement security by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and slashing the federal work force is not the answer. Vital federal services such as food and water safety, mine inspection, border patrol and caring for our veterans keep families and communities safe and secure. The federal government budget should not be balanced on the backs of the working class.”
The general public was asked to sign a petition at the rally to Missouri Senators, which read, “We urge you to stand strong and protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and the federal workers who deliver our essential services. A cut to our federal budget and workforce is a cut to Missouri.
We have sacrificed enough. Now, we urge you to raise revenues. It’s time for the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share. We do not accept that there have to be spending caps, cuts to essential services or "balanced budget" amendments.”
Steve Hollis, of AFGE Local 3354, represented the union in the meeting with Senator McCaskill. “We want to make it clear to all of our elected leaders that federal employees did not cause the deficit. A stable, well-trained work force is needed to do the work of government. Missouri's farmers and rural communities depend on federal employees to deliver adequately funded Rural Development and Farm Loan programs. Senior citizens depend upon a Social Security Administration that is fully staffed to get the correct amount to them on-time. Our wounded and sick veterans depend upon the highly dedicated Veterans Administration Hospital staff to take care of them. Federal employees put their lives on the line guarding and protecting our borders, airports and prisons,” explained Hollis. “There are more than 54,000 federal workers in Missouri. Federal workers already are under a pay freeze. Cuts to our pensions, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid hurt us even more and is the wrong economic policy to pursue. We did not cause the economic problems of this country. Raising revenues is the cure. Cutting the federal work force is not.”
AFGE was joined by members from Missouri Jobs with Justice, Missouri Health Care for All, Missouri Budget Project, GRO, Missouri Pro-Vote, Paraquad, Disability Coalition on Health Care Reform and Metropolitan Congregations United.