Demonstrators on the Hill


Thanks to PoPville reader ‘horseshoe’ for sending:

“I was a little surprised to see how few demonstrators (10 when I was there around 1pm) there were on Day 1 of the shutdown. It was calm and although there were few they had a strong presence (smack dab in the bright sun!). The demonstrators were sitting on the steps; there were a couple news channels interviewing people but mostly there were just tourists getting their photo opps and enjoying the weather.”


11 Comment

  • Don’t crap on me! Love it.

  • Unfortunately, there are a lot of rules (from Congress!) governing what fed workers can and can’t do when it comes to political activities or anything potentially “political.” So I can understand why most furloughed employees would be reluctant to attend a demonstration.

    • Protesting is not covered by the Hatch Act. Especially a general protest against “Congress” and its inability to pass a budget.
      You only run into problems when you begin publicly advocating for certain candidates, parties, or fundraising. Especially if you use a government computer or phone to do those activities.

  • Thank about it internally. Federal workers will most likely get back pay for this, as the fight is not over the budget it is over the affordable care act. This is the start of a two week pay period. If this is fixed in under two weeks then all the govies just got a very nice free vacation without loosing anything or being put out. If it goes longer than that they just have to wait for another pay period but still get paid back with a month off. Where is the reason to protest? Hell give me that anytime! (not the same situation as the furlough this summer where they lost 6 days pay)

    Now a lot of the contractors will get screwed, but that is what contractors do, they are the expendable ones and are always treated badly. Contractors do have a reason to protest but the smart ones won’t. You let your boss see you on TV or a newspaper with a sign and you will be looking for another job by the end of the week. Oh people will say they can’t fire you for that, but you will be fired. You don’t mess with the company’s ability to win contracts, they are about profit not people.

    SO there in lies a partial explanation of why there were so few people.

    • Just curious Anon, why would people prefer to work as a Contractor and not as a Federal employee? Do they get the same health benefits? I’ve never worked for the Federal Government in my professional career. I’ve always worked in the private sector in D.C. and I’m not familiar with the government rules and regulation. However, I support federal workers affected by these shut down. The U.S. citizenry should storm Congress and run all those elitists idiots out of office.

      D. C. Resident and U.S. Citizen

      • I Love LuLu!!!!!

        From everyone I know there is the fact that they can’t get through the system to get hired as a govie. There is a computerized system that gets you through to an actual person so if you don’t use the right words even if you are a perfect match a person never sees you. You are then categorized by an algorithm that marks you in one of three groups, and only the top group is sent through. Once you are through to a person (can take years) then you are subject to a line of other things that put people before you like military service, or a spouse of military service, or disabled, or sex and race if the numbers are too low that month in that pay grade etc. In order to help your odds you would have to apply for as many jobs as possible, creating a new resume for each specific job to hope you get through the system, and then expect to hear from the lower paying positions when your experience and skill set are in the higher ones. You may even see positions open up in your group that you could jump in and excel at tomorrow, but that position is “saved” for another GVT person that is being moved around. they go through the motions of letting others apply but you see somebody else much less qualified that you, but already in the GVT get the position. it’s a very hard game that has nothing to do with skill, experience, education or ability. Just ask any contractor that works with a GS13 and above that can’t even spell CAT lol : )

        Just my experience and two cents worth, very hard to get through the system no matter how good a fit you are for a position.

      • Contractor here…I have been a contractor for almost ten years. Originally, I preferred contractor work because it allowed me to move around between clients and projects and not get too settled or bored. You develop a wide range of knowledge that makes you more useful to your clients, instead of spending your entire career doing the same job in the same building with the same people. I have never had a Federal client whose job I coveted or who I would want to work with on a long-term basis. In fact, I have worked with far too many Federal employees who were flat-out incompetent and would have been fired if they worked for any private-sector company (not to say that’s representative of the whole, just my experience).

        Benefits and pay have been good, and up until the last couple of years it was a fairly stable career. Not so much now. I have actually been looking at Federal jobs because of the job security factor – it’s damn near impossible to get fired and the salary is steady and decent. Unfortunately, I am a poor candidate for many Federal positions, even though I have been doing Feds’ jobs for them for years. It’s hard to break into Federal work; strong preference is given to people who are already Feds, veterans, and minority candidates. I’m none of the above, so despite being very qualified for a lot of positions, I’m at a disadvantage.

        • Anon and Contractor, thank you both for explaining the position of a Contractor in the government. As a child, I dreamt of working for the Federal Government after college. Unfortunately, President Roland Reagan was elected into office and the term ‘riffed’ was used often, along with downsizing government, and buy out packages. As a minority female, I applied for many federal positions through the ‘PACE’ application process and I never received any responses from them. You are right, it’s hard to get fired from the Federal and District Governments and some of their employees would never last in the private sector. I started out my career in Banking, the Office of Financial Affairs at a major local university, and I retired from a National Association in the District. With all this being said, I support my fellow American workers in the Federal Government and I hope the politicians in Congress will stop acting like spoiled children and reopen the Federal Government.

    • none of my coworkers expect to get paid for the shutdown, unless it drags on for over two weeks at which point Congress *might* feel bad for the people who are going to miss their mortgage payments this month due to this pointless shutdown that they have caused — maybe then they’ll feel compelled to pay us something, but I still wouldn’t count on it given the current political climate.

      contractors make a lot more money than I do as a career federal employee. I took this position even though I had a graduate degree that could have gotten me a higher starting salary off the bat, but I chose to take a lower-paying position in an agency that I really wanted to work for because I intended to work my way up and make a career here. LuLu’s comments really don’t apply to entry-level positions but rather to mid-career positions which often do require specialized knowledge that is hard to obtain if you don’t already work in that particular area of the government.

      as for me, my plan during the last serious threat of a government shutdown was to protest (the Hatch Act only prohibits partisan political activities, what these people were doing is fine — unions representing federal workers have protested things such as this before). but this time feels different – neither side is negotiating and the minority opposition to a continuing resolution is comprised of unreasonable and unyielding ideologues who are outside the control of their own party’s leadership. the debt ceiling debate looming on the horizon also complicates things. I think most federal workers are scared about how long the shutdown will last and feel helpless to do anything about it after suffering through pay freezes, hiring freezes, sequester furloughs, etc. I just feel tired and demoralized, and protesting seems futile. Jeez, I sound jaded and pessimistic but I’m pretty sure that’s how a lot of feds are feeling these days – at least we could previously rationalize the fact that we put up with all of these things we put up with in order to have job security, and even that is being taken away from us now.

    • Anonymous, it’s by no means certain that furloughed employees will in fact get paid for their furlough days this time around.

  • What was Heisenberg doing at the rally?

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