This week, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS) joined a coalition of 30 federal labor unions in sending a letter to every member of the new Congress and the president asking them to find consensus to end the partial government shutdown.
“The costs of a shutdown only add to the financial sacrifice imposed on the federal workforce in recent years,” wrote the Federal-Postal Coalition. “Since 2011, federal employees have had more than $200 billion taken from their pay and benefits as a result of pay freezes, furloughs, and increased retirement contributions. This number will only grow if the federal pay freeze for 2019 remains in effect. In 2013, when the government shut down for 16 days, it cost American taxpayers nearly $24 billion. Federal employees and the American people should not have to pay for another shutdown.”
The 11,000 PASS-represented employees at the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense are either furloughed (including aviation safety inspectors and safety support staff) or working without pay to maintain the largest, safest and most complex air traffic control system in the world. “The longer the shutdown goes on,” said PASS National President Mike Perrone, “the more likely the safety of the National Airspace System will be compromised. Our members need to be doing their jobs and not wondering when—or even if—they will be paid.”
The coalition letter continued: “Funding the government is one of the most important responsibilities of Congress and the President. A lapse in government funding compromises all federal services, including our national security.
“We ask that you fund the government to end the shutdown and pass legislation to retroactively pay all federal employees affected by the shutdown immediately after it ends.”