Government Shutdown: Where we stand

32 days and counting 

For those not affected by the Government shutdown it may seem like a distant battle being fought in Washington D.C., Though, for the millions of workers who are feeling the effects it is a crisis that is playing out in homes, on job sites and whittling away at the bank accounts of families all across this country. Imagine being forced to go to work every day without getting paid for the job you’re doing. Imagine having to choose between putting gas in your car so you can make it to work or putting food on the table for your family.

This is the reality that is facing the hundreds of thousands of veterans that work for the federal government. We have a true crisis on our hands.

The Affected: To-date 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or are being forced to work without pay, with 31.1% of federal workers being veterans an estimated 250,000 veterans are directly impacted. These workers are the people that keep the wheels of our society turning, TSA workers, Air Traffic Controllers, Park Rangers, and Federal Prison Guards are just a few of the jobs impacted. The Union Veterans Council has heard from hundreds of these workers as the shutdown plays out.

Department of Homeland Security Worker

“I am another veteran affected by the government shutdown. My family and I live off the paycheck I receive from working, as well as the disability check I get as a supplement. This shutdown will definitely cause a major hardship for me as a single parent. I am the sole provider, and I have no other source of income. I am afraid of what will happen if this shutdown lasts long and how I will pay my bills and feed my daughter. I’ve been praying that something gets done soon and we can get back to work so that everything goes back to normal. This doesn’t make sense”.----Jeanette, U.S Marine Corps

FAA Worker and veteran

“As essential personnel of the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic organization, I feel like we are in a dictatorship. The executive and legislative branches are playing us for pawns so they can be children with temper tantrums.

I am 90% service-connected veteran, and the government shutdown is triggering my service-connected highly anxious and depressive conditions.

When I joined federal service, I planned ahead for situations like this, but only temporary. I’m not privileged like the top brass in the government. I have a mortgage, car payments, electricity payments, credit card payments, residential gas payments and groceries to tend to.

I don’t care what the outcome is. Compromise, agree, open the government expeditiously, and pay your dedicated employees before retention numbers fall”.

The UVC is giving a voice to these Federally Employed Veterans

With a vast number of our members being attacked, the Union Veterans Council reacted to contact. As the crisis set in we have been a critical part of the battle plan to stand up and fight back. We have developed a key set of talking points and facts that have been used by several unions, the media, and politicians, we collected hundreds of stories of our members which has shown the true reality of what shutdown means to the average working veteran. We are reaching out to federal lawmakers to advocate for an end to the shutdown, along with holding educational rallies and press conferences to ensure our veteran stories are heard.   

Taking the High Ground

If this shutdown were a battlefield the Union Veterans Council would have taken the position of high ground. Our support by fire are the stories and the media that we have been able to use to help shape the conversation. Our message has been featured in two of the largest military news outlets, Stars and Stripes and Military Times and Military Times. These stories were the kickoff to a media storm that leads to our message being reached by hundreds of thousands of people nationwide. UVC Executive Director Will Attig has been able to spread the message on national news, including a six-minute one-on-one interview with MSNBC. During that interview, the UVC was able to convey the message of concern for the stability and mental health our federally employed veterans are facing during this shutdown.

Not only is the Union Veterans Council gaining the attention of the press but also our elected officials. Democratic Majority Whip Representative Steny Hoyer also relayed the message of our members on CNN Morning News. Republican Brian Fitzpatrick spoke about veteran workers in his district while simultaneously calling on the Senate to end the shutdown. Most recently, Democratic Senator Richard Durbin featured Toby Haulk, an Army veteran and a member of the Union Veterans Council, on the Senate floor.

Call to action

Your call to action is one of support. In this time of crisis, it is essential that we show our brothers and sisters that we have their backs. We’re calling on all Union Veterans, allies and supporters to make a pledge that you will help efforts to end this shutdown. So, what can you do? Pick up the phone and call 866-803-8830. Tell the Senate to stop holding these American workers hostage. Reach out to your local labor leaders to ask if they are planning rallies or support efforts for those affected by this shutdown. As your scrolling through social media, take a minute to visit the Union Veterans Councils facebook's page and share these post: Militarytimes, MSNBC,  Stars & Stripes. Post and share the articles with the hashtags #StopTheShutdown #CalltheVote

Rest assured the Union Veterans Council will continue to fight with everything we have until we have reopened our government and all federal workers are paid.