Low-Wage Workers Still Feeling Effects Of Shutdown

Friday, November 15, 2013

Low-Wage Workers Still Feeling Effects Of Shutdown(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Workers who labor as janitors, security guards, food-service workers and in other similar positions at federal buildings took a big financial hit during the recent government shutdown, reports Luz Lazo in the Washington Post. “Those three weeks of work lost are $1,600 that we don’t have now,” Pablo Lazaro told the Post; he worked only six days in October at the Smithsonian Castle where he cooks and serves food to museum employees. The Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents thousands of janitorial workers and security guards in the Washington region, estimates that about 700 of its members were out of work during the shutdown, according to the Post report. UNITE HERE Local 23 said about 500 of its members — food-service workers— were affected. “If the direct government employees got paid, the contracted-out federal workers shouldn’t be seen as collateral damage. They should also get paid,” said Jaime Contreras, capital area director of Local 32BJ. “All these people have bills to pay. They have mortgages. They have to put food on the table. They have to make ends meet, and they were without a paycheck for two weeks.” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and Rep. Robert A. Brady (D-Pa.) are considering legislation to grant back pay to federally contracted retail, food, custodial and security workers who were affected by the shutdown. “Our members received back pay for time lost during the shutdown,” said AFSCME Council 26 Executive Director Cark Goldman. “It’s only fair that low-paid contract workers who provide such vital services to government agencies and the public should also receive back pay.”
photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post


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