Over the past few weeks, AFGE members like you have made thousands of calls to Congress, sent over 10,000 letters, and appeared in the news media over 2,700 times. Your activism stopped a shutdown that many elected representatives were calling ‘inevitable.’
More than that, you helped explain to the American people the human cost of government shutdowns on federal workers and the people we serve.
We won the battle, but now isn’t the time to take our foot off the gas. The government is only funded for six short weeks. That means we could be right back in this situation by November 17.
If we want to win the war, we’ve got to keep reaching out to our members of Congress. Tell them not to waste any time – get to work right now to provide full year funding for our agencies in 2024.
There’s no excuse to wait. Call Congress now at 855-222-9093. Tell them to fund the government now.
Thank you again for everything you’ve done in the past few weeks. Your continued activism is the key to our success.
AFGE National President
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Government shutdown impact on workers
- AFGE urges Congress to fully fund the government and not repeat the mistakes of the past.
- The impact of a government shutdown will be felt by all federal employees, their children and families, and everyone who depends on them for a paycheck.
- Federal workers do not get paid while the government is shut down, even if they are working. Last time there was a government shutdown, 800,000 federal workers went 5 weeks without a paycheck. That was just a partial shutdown, so this potential shutdown could have a far greater impact.
- Now, thanks to AFGE’s advocacy after the 2019 shutdown, federal workers will receive retroactive backpay.
- AFGE members and other federal employees will have to go without a paycheck on payday, regardless of whether they’re deemed essential to protect public safety or not.
- Both employees who are required to report to their duty station for work and those told to stay home will all suffer by not being paid.
- When a job is deemed non-exempt/not essential for public safety, employees are prohibited from performing their job even on a voluntary basis.
- Employees who are furloughed will eventually have to make up for the backlog of work that accumulates during the time they are prevented from working.
- As part of past shutdown deals, Congress slashed our pay, benefits, and retirements. That cannot happen this time.
- A government shutdown would exacerbate the current staffing shortage crisis faced by many federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Prisons, Social Security Administration, etc., because during a shutdown, federal agencies cannot process new hires.
- In 2018-2019, 800,000 total workers went without pay, a little more than half of which were deemed excepted or “essential” who had to work without pay while the other half were forced to stay home.
- As we learned in the last shutdown, many federal workers live paycheck to paycheck. Even though they will eventually get paid, most workers cannot afford to go without a paycheck.
- During the most recent shutdown, AFGE members drove for ride shares, went to food banks, and took out loans due to missed paychecks.
Government shutdowns impact everyone, not just employees
- Anyone who relies on the services of a federal agency will feel the significant impacts of a government shutdown.
- If the government shuts down, customer service-based agencies such as Veterans Benefits Administration and Social Security Administration will experience serious backlogs, delaying the distribution of important benefits to the American people.
- The American people who depend on critical government services – our veterans returning from overseas who need care at the VA, our most vulnerable citizens who need to get their Social Security checks on time, and families who want to be confident that air travel is safe and secure – they are the ones who are hurt the most by these shutdowns.
- There were many businesses that struggled during this time as they lost access to federal permits and certifications or faced reduced access to federal loans – causing them to postpone investments and hiring decisions, costing our communities jobs.
Government shutdowns are expensive and impact the economy
- Government shutdowns are expensive, producing significant costs to the taxpayer.
- The last government shutdown cost the U.S. economy $11 billion – a quarter of which was never recovered.
- The federal payroll – excluding benefits – is about $250 billion a year so the loss of paychecks costs Executive Branch federal employees about $5 billion a week. That all gets paid eventually but the postponement of those paychecks amounts to $5 billion per week that’s not getting paid on payday, that’s not getting spent by families, etc.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the historic 2018-2019 five-week shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal discretionary spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services and suspended some federal services.