Federal workers must show up and can't strike even when not paid in Trump's Shutdown


Not unless a bill passes granting them the backpay. It has happened after several shutdowns in the past, but not all of them.


I image that Trump handing out candy goes something like this.


It’s half fictional (like all government authority), and half real in the sense that what the government is “giving” you is not the right to strike but the right to keep your job after you strike. Anyway, the main reason nurses don’t strike much is that they don’t want to harm patients (that’s why they’re nurses); the government can say “we forbid them to strike! We’re in charge”, but that should be taken with the appropriate seasoning.

Regardless, as people have pointed out above, refusing to work for free is not striking. The government owes its employees money and is defaulting on its debt. And yet, even without checking, I feel confident that the US government is still making coupon payments on treasury bills, because if it was investors getting stiffed, rather than worthless “Americans” in public service jobs, that would be considered unacceptable.


Were they Starbursts? And did he hurl them at everyone in a display of petulance and spite? Because that worked with Angela Merkel, and by “worked with” I mean “showed what a turd he is by childishly insulting”.


If enough of them do it, there’s really nothing that the federal government can do about it. Mass firings? Sure, good luck finding replacements that will work for free.


True, however it would be a sub-optimal solution for all Federal employees to resign, leaving the country without any border security, tax processing officials, air traffic controllers, and so on.


Hey, voting for Trump was sub-optimal, but people did that anyway. :wink:


Time for government workers to siphon gas out of their cars and say “o no I cant get to work”.


Unfortunately for a lot of the positions, that won’t work. Federal prison guards can’t exactly rework their shift. It also opens the door to bad managers retaliating and costing someone their pension.


Still have to be there, and being in a place not doing anything productive or that you want to do, day in and out, without pay is still… god this is a shitshow. Can’t he just have a stroke?


Not all federal workers in agencies affected by the furlough are working without pay. Some employees are “excepted” during the furlough because their jobs are necessary to protect life and property. THOSE are the ones working for indefinitely delayed pay. If you are not excepted or funded, you are sent home and MIGHT* get paid later. As the administration tries to minimize the fallout of the furlough by, for example, calling back IRS workers to make sure tax refunds go out, I predict that some of the affected employees will sue because they were misclassified as excepted. Getting tax refund out does not really qualify as “life and property” in the way that prison workers would be.

The problem with challenging this as “involuntary servitude” under the xiii th amendment is it is silent on the question of WHEN you get paid. Plenty of people get paid once a month, and there was a time when is was common for some agricultural workers to get paid at harvest. So a delay of pay by a few weeks wouldn’t count as “involuntary servitude.”

And as others have pointed out, the large number of federal contractors doing work for the government that is not “inherently governmental” are sent home and very unlikely to get paid. Contractors always get the poopy end of the stick.

for people that want dive deep into this. https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf


A relevant detail:

The decision to shut down the welfare state while maintaining the military etc apparatus is an arbitrary choice. It isn’t actual law.


This breaks down under the harsh glare of “other duties as assigned”, unfortunately. Obviously that’s not present for everyone, but I suspect it’s there for a lot of high-skill roles.


Indeed that is WHY the term “essential” is generally not used in official circles. Instead they use the term “excepted” to apply to those who have to continue showing up during a shutdown.

Although the disbursement of non-appropriated funds (Social Security etc.) is usually considered critical task for which necessary employees are “execepted” from the furlough. Essentially, the law authorizing those payments does not require that the funds be separately appropriated, so the anti-deficiency act does not apply to those legally required payments. This makes them entitlements in the legal rather than the “scary bad word” sense. Usually this means that check go out existing recipients, because the number of people required to do that is minimal, but new applications are not processed because that is where the manpower is required.

At some level, employees who are excepted are NOT supposed to be doing any tasks that are not excepted. Instead management is SUPPOSED to except the minimum number of people required.


Interesting. I confess to not knowing much about government employment contracts. Will individual duties be listed somewhere as fitting into the “excepted” category, presumably?


I wonder how many Federally employed workers voted for Nostradumbass? America first right?


Sorry, but this is yet another argument for privatization.


Can they roll the furloughed workers into the unemployment numbers?(Mr. Best jobs loves his numbers) A job means you get paid after all.


They can’t pay people for the work they perform but Trump can fly to Texas using our tax dollars in an effort he himself said wouldn’t change anything.
It’s also worth mentioning that congresscritters still get paid their salary of at least $174K/year during a shutdown.

How so? TSA screening is not a profit center. It’s a cost. Therefore the only way a the private sector could even do the job is if it was paid for with tax money. Do you think the private sector would continue to do the work if they weren’t being paid? Imagine we shift the TSA screeners to the private sector. Once the private contractors stop receiving compensation from the government, they would lay off workers. Additionally, the cost would increase due to bloated executive salaries.


Trump: Screw you guys, I’m going home!

Aide: You are home, Mr. President.

Trump: Well… then… stay out of my room!

[slams door amid tears of rage]