- The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the largest federal employee union, has sued the federal government on behalf of essential employees who claim they were required to work without pay during the latest, ongoing government shutdown, according to an AFGE press statement.
- There are approximately 420,000 essential federal workers across the country who work as correctional officers, border patrol and ICE agents and transportation security officers, the statement said.
- "Requiring them to work without pay is nothing short of inhumane," said J. David Cox, AFGE's national president. "Positions that are considered 'essential' during a government shutdown are some of the most dangerous jobs in the federal government. They are frontline public safety positions, including many in law enforcement, among other critical roles."
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees be paid for all hours worked in a timely manner, and covers both private and public employees. Following a similar situation during the 2013 government shutdown during which 25,000 essential federal workers were not paid on time, a federal judge awarded workers twice their pay in damages.
With no end yet in sight, federal workers say they're starting to feel the crunch of lost wages, and news from President Donald Trump that federal workers, with the exception of military employees, may not receive a promised pay increase this year has raised the stakes.
"Our members take home an average of around $500 each week. Any interruption in their pay has a devastating impact on them, their families, and their communities," Cox said in a press statement about the shutdown.