AFGE Local 171

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January 2, 2019

Dear Member—

Since this partial government shutdown began at midnight on December 22, our union has been fighting night and day to put pressure on the White House and Congress to reach a deal to fund the government.

Every day this shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers are left wondering when they are going to get their next paycheck and how they will be able to make ends meet. 420,000 of those workers are deemed "essential," meaning they must report to work despite the fact that they are not receiving pay for the work they are performing.

I want to update you about one other thing we are doing to make sure that once this shutdown ends, AFGE members receive every dime in backpay that you are owed.

AFGE retained an outside law firm—Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, P.C.—with expertise in this area of law, and together we filed suit against the government for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act as a result of the government’s failure to pay wages and overtime to essential employees when they are due. The outside counsel we’ve hired to help with this case won a similar lawsuit against the government after the prolonged government shutdown in 2013.

To be very clear, our law suit only applies to essential employees who were forced to come into work without being paid during the partial government shutdown. This suit does not cover employees who were furloughed or those whose jobs were not affected. As in past shutdowns, we are lobbying Congress to include back pay for all employees affected by the shutdown whether you were furloughed or forced to work. We’ve always succeeded in the past and will demand nothing less of the Congress this time.

If you have additional questions or would like to join this class action suit, all you need to do is go to Government Shutdown 2018 and register.
As our case works its way through the justice system, we will continue to keep you informed of new developments, much as we have done with other major litigation affecting our members.

Thank you for everything you’ve been doing to help keep up the pressure – let’s keep it up, end this shutdown, and put our members back to work for the pay they deserve!

In Solidarity,
J. David Cox Sr.
AFGE National President