On October 1, 2013 the government was unable to reach an agreement on continuing funding for existing budgeted items. This has led to a government shutdown, where current services are suspended and millions of workers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. The lack of a bi-partisan agreement has forced inactivity to develop into instability. Without what is known as a “continuing resolution” (CR), the government is incapable of paying the bills already incurred. Once again, the lack of a fully functioning government has crippled our nation and adversely impacted our most vulnerable populations.
At the heart of the current budget crisis, is the debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many in the House of Representatives have decided that the only way they will agree to a CR is if there is either a delay or total disbandment of the ACA. They have tied together a funding issue, with a legislative issue and refuse to budge no matter the cost, damage, or impact on the American Family. Now many view this as a push by Conservatives or Tea Party members forcing their ideological views onto the American public. I view this as ineffective workers unable to meet the demands and responsibilities of the workplace.
For years we have heard how unions protect bad workers from disciplinary action, how unions save the jobs of the incompetent, how unions demand inefficient employees receive higher than average wages. These rumors have led to cuts in worker salaries, pensions, and of course health care. Yet union members work every day. They show up and do the duties they are obligated to accomplish. If any worker does not do their job they face disciplinary action and potential termination. Ironically, the very politicians who villanize working men and women who are part of a union, refuse to meet the same standard they place on others.
What would happen to an American worker who refused to do their job, who walked away before the work was finished, who demanded their ultimatums were upheld? This is what our Congress is doing. When President Obama presented the ACA, millions supported the legislation. The Supreme Court then heard the case against it and yet they too supported the Act. Finally, in 2012 after Americans heard how horrible the ACA would be, they turned around and voted again for President Obama and specifically for the passage of the ACA. We as voters are supposed to be considered the boss of those we elect. Unfortunately those elected have refused to do the will of the people, have refused to meet the mission of running an effective government, and have refused to do their job. For that, they should be terminated.
The government shutdown has many political consequences. Our upcoming election cycles will bear witness to how upset and disenfranchised American voters are with our current representatives. While all this political jostling is going on, there are immediate and very tangible consequences people are facing all over the country due to this. Disparate and disadvantaged pregnant women will no longer be able to receive support from Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)’s. This will hurt our unborn babies and struggling mothers. Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs told Congress they probably won’t have enough funds to pay disability claims or make pension payments for vets. Men and women injured, mauled, and harmed protecting our freedom will be unable to receive any support. Millions of disabled Americans will be unable to have their claims heard because there will be no workers to listen, Labor injustices will go untreated as the NLRB will have no staff, and our National Parks will close.
It is workers who always suffer in these times. Government employees are being sent home without pay or being asked to work in hopes of receiving pay when the matter is resolved. Why continue to cripple the economy when we have not yet fully recovered? Why make matters worse for every working American in this country because employees no longer are working for their employers, or rather politicians have blatantly ignored the very people who voted them in. CBTU calls on Congress to set aside the grandstanding and do what is right for America. Pass the CR, keep the government funded, and uphold the principles you were voted in to protect. The ACA is no longer up for debate, keep America running is not an ideological issues. Like every other American, we need Congress to do their job and earn their paycheck instead of looking to deny the people their paycheck.
Affordable Care Act: In March 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law. The law makes preventive care—including family planning and related services—more accessible and affordable for many Americans. While some provisions of the law have already taken effect, many more provisions will be implemented in the coming years. Open enrollment began Oct. 1 of this year and is still going on. For more information please click on the links below or go to www.healthcare.gov.
Welcome to the website of CBTU, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. CBTU is the fiercely independent voice of Black Workers within the Trade Union Movement.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI)
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
Pride at Work
Every 9 1/2 minutes someone is infected with HIV / AIDS.
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Union-to-Union relief effort supports Haitian workers. Click here to read more.