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


I don’t think it actually works that way for businesses that have salaried employees but depend on Federal contracts for funding.


I’ve worked for one of those companies. If they think they can send you home for the duration without paying you, they will. If they think you’ll be able to find a better deal, you’ll get pay, and have to come in.



I know it’s usually a bad idea to ascribe any strategy or forethought to Trump’s actions, but what if this is how he gets to end on a “win?”

He refuses to back down on the wall until his own party is forced to remove him to end the shutdown. Then he spends the rest of his life saying he resigned because he was too principled to capitulate on American security and not because he was ousted over criminal wrongdoing.


I hadn’t heard this before. What a dick move – it’s not like ATC is a job that you can pick up any schlub off the street and have them do well. It’s incredibly stressful and detail oriented and I would imagine finding qualified applicants is hard. But fuck that, these guys pissed in Reagan’s Froot Loops so why not fuck them over as much as possible?


Basically, the “heads I win, tails you lose” school of business? What a brilliant tactician!


As I mentioned somewhere earlier a statistical analysis conducted years later concluded that the impact of losing so many experienced Air Traffic Controllers at once almost definitely contributed to the number of American lives lost in aviation accidents over the following decades.


Is it true that today (friday) is the first paycheck that they may miss
getting on time?
Does anyone know from the last shutdown did those who were “furloughed” get back pay as well as those who continued working?
Something definitely not right, if that’s the case…


Yes, I got paid after being furloughed for about 1 week (I think). This was sometime back in late 80s, early 90s.
/wasn’t “super duper important”
//Bureau of Mines, a ffederal research agency


[quote=“tamula, post:68, topic:136410”]

That is what they keep saying. I do wonder a bit because in our agency (which is funded) we will not receive the paycheck for the pay period of 12/22/2018-1/5/2019 until 1/17/2019. And affected employees that were scheduled to work on 12/22/2018 have not been paid yet for that time.

Feds have gotten back pay in every* previous shutdown whether they worked or not. But that requires that the law funding the government include language to require that. Without a specific law requiring it, that won’t happen.** And relying on Trump to follow a precedent is fraught.

  • at least for feds with relatively normal M-F tours of duty. I’m not sure whether anybody remembered to include legislation to that effect for some of the mini-shutdowns that haven’t lasted until regular business hours Monday morning.
    **Courts have ruled that conducting an “orderly shutdown of operations” qualifies as an “excepted” activity, and that it should not normally take more than 4 hours. So even those whose jobs are not execpted will normally have 4 hours of time that the government owes them pay for on their next scheduled day. Technically, those are the only tasks that your are supposed to do if the rest of your job is not excepted from the furlough, but most employees and agencies regard that as a chance to get half a days work done, and to give the politicians another 4 hours to get their shit together. The non obvious thing is that all leave is canceled during a furlough since leave is a “pay status”


Just because federal workers can’t strike doesn’t mean that non-feds can’t strike in solidarity. It would be nice to see a sympathy strike by unionized labor.

It also might be time for a general strike if we can’t get the services we need from the government.

This is all BS and can’t be accepted as normal.


I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If the government isn’t funded, it isn’t funded. If there’s no money to spend, there’s no money to spend. They ought to turn the lights off in the white house until Congress votes to turn them back on.


This is actually happening. They’re already not paying their $5 million water bill.

And actually, this is only a partial shutdown. Only about 25% of the government is not funded.


I guess I’m really confused by that. I haven’t found any lucid articles explaining how the law around the shutdown works. Why is it only 25%? Previous shut downs I’ve seen have been connected to debt ceiling, but I don’t know if this one is. Is this just a case where funds weren’t allocated by Congress?

And I heard that about 12% of the IRS was funded, and they were set on tax returns. But if the funding is partial, I would think it would be enveloped - that which 12% would be determined in law, not by executive whim.

They aren’t paying their water bill, but the utility isn’t cutting them off. I think they should. Maybe then Trump would actually understand there is a problem.


What do you mean by “something definitely not right”? Do you feel that someone who is without work through no doing of their own, and is not likely to be able to find something else on the grounds that a) their experience is specialised and b) could get called back to work at any moment (which marks them as “unreliable”) should just get nothing? Or do you feel that past precedent (of furloughed workers getting back pay) should apply without debate?


Basically this time around is nothing but a political stunt (we already knew that though) and has nothing to do with the debit ceiling (although that’s coming around again in March). The Continuing Resolution that the Senate passed in December but the then-GOP controlled House failed to approve provided funding for the remaining 7 agencies that weren’t already funded thru next Sept - without anything for the wall. Trump threw his temper tantrum and Paul Ryan pulled the vote even though it passed 100-0 in the Senate.

Pelosi re-voted on the exact same CR once Dems took the House and now McConnell refuses to let it come to the floor in the Senate for a vote cause he knows it will pass putting Trump into the embarrassing position of having to veto it.

Seventy-five percent of the federal government already has funding, through several previously-approved pieces of legislation. But a few agencies still need to be funded; they include the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Interior, Justice, Transportation and State, as well as some independent agencies like the National Park Service. That’s why, if a shutdown occurred, it would be a partial shutdown.


I think I’m baffled at the idea that you need to pass a resolution to fund agencies. Like, I’d think there is already something in place to fund them. And again, where agencies are partially funded, I’m confused by how the part that is funded isn’t defined, that goes against my intuition of how law works.

But hey, I understand the US federal government is super dysfunctional.


Everything comes down to Continuing Resolutions - they are the legislation that Congress passes every year that actually funds the various agencies allocated from the annual budget.

The fiscal year runs from October 1 thru Sept 30 every year and Congress has to pass CRs in order release the funds for the next year. Usually everything gets passed all at once in one big omnibus spending bill but things have gotten so screwed up in DC the past few years that some funding was previously approved and some weren’t based on political grandstanding.

There’s really no reason for this. If Congress wanted to, they could just pass a bill that automatically continued funding every year with no need to vote on it. But that would take away the ability to use shutdowns as a bargaining chip.


Yeah, that’s the dysfunctional part!

Though I had no idea the US fiscal year was Oct-Sept.

And I learned something today.


You know the REALLY fucked part of that story? That PATCO backed Reagan in the 1980 election (as did the Teamster’s). Just goes to show that the modern GOP will never support unions, even more conservative ones.