Hundreds of thousands of furloughed employees eagerly returned to work after the Trump shutdown. However, the struggle is far from over for federal contractors - like Smithsonian Museum security officer De’Von Russel - who are not guaranteed back pay. At a press conference, 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa and 32BJ SEIU members joined members of Congress as they urged elected leaders to pass legislation to address this problem.
“In addition to having a family I have to support with a three-year-old daughter, I have bills just like everybody else, just like the government workers. I don’t see the difference in why we should be held without back pay just like everybody else,” Russel said.
“We’re basically doing the same jobs they’re doing so what is the difference here?” said Figueroa. “Contracted workers are still in limbo…The men and women who clean and secure federal buildings have been living on the edge of disaster for five weeks. Many of these workers are facing eviction, power shut-offs, hunger and even going without lifesaving medications. And unlike direct federal employees, they may never be made whole.”
Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have introduced a bill that would allow certain types of contractors already defined in federal law to request payment from the government for their workers. A House version of the bill has been introduced by freshman Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). 32BJ SEIU members are circulating an online petition in support of federal contractors.
Show your support for federal contractors by signing the petition.