President Thomas McCabe and Executive Vice President Rebecca Ko from NTEU Chapter 23, along with approximately 30 other federal employees from IRS, EPA, and HUD met with Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday, January 28, 2019 in the Boston JFK Federal Building for a discussion about the effects of the 35-day government shutdown on furloughed employees. NTEU was widely brought up in the discussion on how the union was there to tirelessly provide support and to help the furloughed employees throughout the government shutdown period.
Rebecca voiced frustration with public comments by certain members of the Administration that L-R Tom McCabe, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rebecca Ko furloughed employees would receive back pay and were essentially on a free vacation! Many federal employees live from paycheck to paycheck and were forced to confront the possibility of making choices between which bills to pay to support their families or to seek short-term financial assistance until the furlough ended. Rebecca noted this has led many employees to experience mental anxiety, stress, financial instability, uncertainties, and unknowns in their personal as well as work lives. Tom brought to Ms. Warren’s attention that public service was once an honored and respected career attracting the most dedicated professionals in their fields. However, as noted by the comment above, this view is apparently not widely held in the current Administration. Further, Tom noted, over the last two decades, proposal after proposal has emerged from Congress targeting the IRS, its mission, its existence, budget, staffing, and even its dedicated employees. Clearly, these proposals impact morale and ultimately create a negative view of a career in government.
The federal employees in the discussion group brought up the many ways that they have received help from NTEU even while the government was shutdown.
Ms. Warren acknowledged the issues and concerns voiced to her from NTEU and the other federal employees during the discussion. We thank her for her time and for the respect she has shown IRS employees.