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VIDEO: Capitol Hill Rally Champions Government Workers as “Unsung Heroes”

AFGE members join with progressive unions, lawmakers to support government workers

 WASHINGTON – A new video released today by the American Federation of Government Employees champions government employees as the unsung heroes of the American workforce who provide valuable programs and services to the public.

“Our members are the workers. They do the work, they perform the tasks,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. says in the video. “They are the unsung heroes throughout the federal government.”

The video was recorded Tuesday during a noontime rally on Capitol Hill organized by AFGE, which is the nation’s largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 federal and D.C. government workers. More than 500 AFGE members who were in Washington for the union’s annual legislative conference attended the rally, joined by members of other government employee unions including the American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

“AFGE members are the people who make our federal government work,” said Elizabeth Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. “You deliver the services that America counts on.”

Several lawmakers also spoke at the rally to voice their support for government employees and employee unions.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland said he sees unions as part of the solution to helping restore the nation’s middle class, as President Obama has urged.

“Today as the president has pointed out, we are seeing a widening gap of wealth in America,” Cardin said. “We need to have a growing middle class, a stronger middle class than we have today. Unions help us build that middle class.”

At Armed Services Hearing Shea-Porter Reiterates Opposition to Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC)

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Submarine enroute to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

 

WASHINGTON, DC –During a House Armed Services Committee hearing this afternoon on the Navy’s FY 2015 budget request, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) spoke directly to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus about her opposition to additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

“I have the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in my district, and you know how famous they are for the great work they do…their record is absolutely wonderful,” Shea-Porter said. “My question is very simple. In considering a future BRAC, is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in that equation at all? I believe their work is essential, and my question is, do you and does the Navy?”

Mabus noted that all of America’s Naval Shipyards, including Portsmouth do “incredibly good work.” He also noted that because the Navy has not been authorized to do a BRAC, he could not comment on how a potential BRAC evaluation would look.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter continues to believe that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is essential to our nation’s security.

“When you see the work that they’re doing and recognize how essential it is for national security, I hope that will get a full measure of consideration,” Shea-Porter added.

As a member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Shea-Porter helped pass a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act explicitly prohibiting additional rounds of BRAC. The legislation stated “nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an additional Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round, and none of the funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations contained in this Act may be used to propose, plan for, or execute an additional BRAC round.” That language is now federal law.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four public shipyards in the United States, and it’s the only public Shipyard on the East Coast.

Overpaid Government Workers: New Report Highlights The Real Overpaid Government Workers

If you ask any Conservative Republican what they think about the pay of government workers, I would bet dollars to donuts they would say the same thing.  Government workers are overpaid!

The truth is that they are not entirely wrong.  They problem lies in who they believe are overpaid.  They believe it is teachers, sanitation workers, and caseworkers are lazy and overpaid.  The fact is that the real people who are scamming the taxpayers with bloated compensations are the government contractors.

This week the Center for Media and Democracy released a scathing report highlighting the obscene compensations of government contractors who are being paid with taxpayer money.

The report by CMD highlights just six of these “government” workers who, between them, raked in more than $100 million from taxpayers in personal compensation during the past few years alone.

“Given these astronomical salaries, and evidence of higher prices, poor service, and at times outright malfeasance, taxpayers have every right to be concerned about how their outsourced dollars are spent,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of CMD.

These top executives include:

  • George Zoley, America’s highest paid “corrections officer” and CEO of private prison giant GEO Group. Zoley made $22 million in compensation between 2008 and 2012. CMD estimates that GEO Group makes 86 percent of its revenue from the taxpayers. GEO Group writes language into private prison contracts that forces taxpayers to keep prisons full or else pay for empty beds. GEO Group has faced hundreds of lawsuits over prisoner deaths, assaults, excessive force, and more, which have led to secret court settlements.
  • David Steiner, president and CEO of Waste Management, is America’s highest paid “sanitation worker.” Steiner made a whopping $45 million in compensation from 2006 to 2012. Waste Management’s makes about 50 percent of its revenue from U.S. taxpayers, says Goldman Sachs.
  • Ron Packard of K12 Inc. is America’s highest paid “teacher.” Packard made more than $19 million in compensation between 2009 and 2013, despite the alarming fact that only 28 percent of K12 Inc. cyber schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of public schools. CMD estimates that K12 Inc. makes 86 percent of its revenue from the taxpayers.
  • Jeffry Sterba, president and CEO of American Water Works Company, is America’s highest paid “water worker.” Sterba has made $8.3 million in the three years he has been top executive. American Water is the largest for-profit provider of water and wastewater services in the United States. CMD estimates that American Water makes approximately 89 percent of its revenue from taxpayers.
  • Richard Montoni, CEO of Maximus, is America’s highest paid “caseworker.” Maximus is a for-profit firm that handles government services for poor and vulnerable residents. Montoni made more than $16 million between 2008 and 2012. In 2013, Maximus landed in hot water for improper billing in Wisconsin. In 2007, Maximus paid $30 million to settle a U.S. Department of Justice criminal investigation into fraudulent billing.
  • Nicholas Moore is America’s highest paid “road worker.” As managing director and CEO of the Australian infrastructure firm Macquarie, Moore made $8.8 million in compensation in fiscal year 2013. As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Macquarie has pushed for privatization of public services across the board. It has long-term contracts to run Chicago’s Skyway, Indiana’s Toll Road, and the Dulles Greenway in Virginia.

We as taxpayers should be appalled by the fact that our government is paying these people millions of dollars a year with our tax dollars, while millions of children are going without food because SNAP benefits are ‘unaffordable’.

Those who are screaming we need to get our budgets under control need to look at the outrageous compensation of government contractors who are failing us at every level.

 

Read the full report from CMD here

Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA, On the Federal Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2013) – “It is exasperating that the U.S. House of Representatives has become so tied in political knots that it can no longer do its job and pass legislation to fund programs and services it has already authorized and to prevent a shutdown of the federal government.

“The radical Tea Party Republicans are the tail wagging the dog. Their extremism puts our economy at risk and doing so for political gain is simply un-American.

“As an organization that proudly represents more than 25,000 federal employees – workers who protect our national security, provide critical health care services to veterans and Native Americans, keep our skies safe and our parks clean, and of whom at least 5,000 are currently serving their country in the military – we appeal to House leadership to put an end to this dangerous circus. And Congress must then make the federal employees who have been victims whole by providing full back pay.”

NH Congresswomen Weigh In On The So-Called “Full Faith and Credit Act”

Carol Shea-Porter_Official.2010-300x288WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 807, a bill that would ensure Chinese bondholders are paid before American soldiers in the case of a government default.

After the vote, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter issued the following statement:

“I strongly oppose this deeply irresponsible legislation. Middle class families can’t pick and choose which bills to pay, and neither should Congress. 

“H.R. 807 guarantees that if Republicans push our nation into default, bondholders from China and the Cayman Islands would be paid before America’s veterans, Medicare providers, and small businesses. 

“Instead of playing chicken with our nation’s credit rating, Congress should act responsibly and pay the bills that it has incurred.  I, once again, call on Speaker Boehner to appoint budget conferees so Congress can compromise on a sensible budget that ends sequestration, helps create jobs, and responsibly reduces the deficit.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also released a statement after her vote:

Ann kuster head shot LG“This bill is nothing more than a plan to default on our nation’s obligations, plain and simple,” Kuster said. “It sets the stage for yet another manufactured crisis that would prioritize payments to China and other foreign creditors over our obligations to seniors on Medicare, veterans, and the men and women of our Armed Forces.”

“Rather than simply bracing for default, both parties need to work together to reduce the deficit in a balanced way that will help create jobs, grow the economy, and strengthen the middle class,” Kuster added. “As we do, Congress must reassure creditors and the American people that our government will continue to meet its obligations and avoid a catastrophic default. Any suggestion that we would even consider doing otherwise would be irresponsible, undermine confidence in our government, and put our credit rating at risk.”

 

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