Money Matters - Simplified

Union threatens to sue administration over government shutdown

The largest union of the federal workers has announced that it may sue the administration if the government workers are not paid during the shutdown.

The largest union of the federal workers has announced that it may sue administration if the government workers are not paid during the shutdown. The union has sought more information whether the workers will be assigned work during the shutdown and if they will be paid for it.

At present, the proposal is struck in a stalemate between the Republicans in the Congress and the White House.

Union seeking more clarity
The president of the 265,000 member strong union, John Gage, told the POLITICO that the shutdown is more of a, “political theatre than anything else.

He also expressed his concern about the uncertainty as it is “deeply disturbing when people don’t know whether they’re going to be able to make a mortgage or pay their bills.”

He has sought more information from the administration which has been forwarded to the Attorney General Eric Holder and also to the Director, Office of Personnel Management, John Berry.

Gage said, “We’ve asked the Obama administration how they would guarantee employees’ pay, what the conditions are for essential employees to be paid. Should essential employees be required to work without a guarantee of pay, we will file a lawsuit.”

He said the government workers need more clarity on the issue.

Government provides overview
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published an overview on Tuesday night, briefly mentioning the working of the shutdown.

The workers who are “excepted” during the shutdown would be paid for their work after the president signs the new appropriations bill. As of now, the federal agencies do not have any authority to pay the workers during a shutdown.

The OPM said it is up to the agencies to decide which workers are “excepted” and which are not. The workers who are “non-excepted” or "furloughed“ are not permitted to work as unpaid volunteers for the government,” added the OPM statement.

The White House Office of Budget and Management (OBM) spokeswoman Meg Reilly told that the OBM is taking, “unprecedented steps to improve government transparency,” in the wake of the government shutdown.

“Plans for shutdown operations, which are governed by the law, remain in development and are pre-decisional at this time,” said the OBM spokeswomen. “When plans are finalized and reviewed for sensitive information, we will work with agencies to provide to the public,” she added.

The OBM expressed hope that the costly shutdown can be avoided the union president was not so hopeful. “Just call it what it is,” said Gage.