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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Federal Workers are Victims, Not Villains

Letter Published in Oct. 5, 2013 Edition of the Baltimore Sun

Dan Shannahan’s letter (“Federal workers shouldn’t complain about shutdown,” October 2) is as ignorant as it is callous.Writing that federal workers receive Flag Day as a holiday is blatantly incorrect and the Sun should not be publishing such a falsehood.  At least he didn’t mention Halloween.

Yet, I’m curious to know what he means by “all the federal holidays they enjoy that the civilian work force doesn’t get.”  Is he referring to New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc? The private work force does not get to enjoy those holidays along with federal workers?  He brings up, along with Flag Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. While it is true that most private sector businesses do not treat those occasions as holidays for employees, the fact is that many do.

More to the point and what is disturbing most about Mr. Shannahan’s letter is his cavalier attitude about federal workers’ losing a few days’ pay.  It is more likely than not that the shutdown will last two weeks or more, not a few days.

Maybe Mr. Shannahan has oodles of money to endure such a hardship, but most federal employees have families with many sending their kids to college, have mortgages and must deal with myriad other expenses that yes, even the private sector must confront.  Losing that much income would be problematic for a significant number of these workers – a situation they did not cause.
And perhaps someday Mr. Shannahan will actually need the services federal employees can provide. I’m betting he already has.

Steve Charing

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