One of the first things right-wing lawmakers did after the new Congress convened this month was to revive an obscure rule that allows them to slash individual federal salaries to as low as $1.
Yes. Seriously. Congress has this power under the Holman rule.
Check out this video clip from NBC’s Meet the Press program about this rule and the effect it could have on federal employees, including those represented by AFSCME.
Supporters tout this dangerous move as a way to make government accountable to the people. In truth, this is an attempt by the new Congress to intimidate the more than 2 million civilians who work for executive-branch agencies (excluding military personnel) and blow up the 130-year-old federal civil service.
Right-wing lawmakers have long sought to bring the federal workforce to its knees and strip employees of their collective-bargaining rights. They figure they have the chance now because they control Congress and the White House. We won’t let that happen. Congress can do this because it can. Every aspect of a federal employee’s working life is controlled by Congress — from pay to working conditions to agency budgets.
To be sure, members of Congress can’t unilaterally invoke the Holman rule to punish federal employees they don’t like. They still need the backing of a majority of the House and the Senate. But this is part of a larger pattern where right-wing lawmakers in Congress escalate their hostility toward the federal workforce.
Though nearly all of AFSCME’s 1.6 million members are state- and local-government workers, we also represent more than 3,000 federal employees in 17 federal agencies. To them, this is a very real threat — one AFSCME will fight.
This underscores why it’s important for public service employees at all levels to exercise their collective-bargaining rights and join unions now. Yes, you can act to protect your careers and your futures.
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Add your voice to the AFSCME chorus and we pledge to fight strong — AFSCME Strong — for you every day and in every venue, from city hall to the state legislature to Congress.