Government Shutdowns Hurt Our Employees

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As president of Chapter 60 of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), I see firsthand, every day, how IRS employees work hard to serve the American taxpayer. Now, for the third time in a year, federal employees have been furloughed and are not getting paid due to a government shutdown. This is unacceptable. Locally, more than 700 IRS employees represented by NTEU will suffer pay cuts from these unpaid furlough days.

Contrary to various members of Congress who caused this mess, these employees are hard-working individuals who are dedicated to assisting taxpayers and collecting the revenue that funds all government programs. They are committed public servants. It is counterproductive to hamstring the agency that collects 93 percent of the revenue that keeps our country running. 

Any unpaid furlough day will be very difficult for my members. Like many Americans, many of my members live paycheck to paycheck. Most of these employees earn far less than what can reasonably be considered a middle-class salary. This unwelcome pay cut will make it even more difficult for workers to make ends meet.

Being an IRS employee is a challenging job. These workers have signed on to serve the public and are dedicated to that mission. Forcing them to take unpaid days off is no way to attract and retain the best workers.

In closing, I want to reinforce that the role of federal agencies and federal employees are far too important to be curtailed by another shutdown. Federal employees deserve better. End the shutdown now! 

John Kelshaw


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