The five stages of grief after a tragedy have been identified as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. A federal employee union representative in Washington describes the situation his members are going through as that of a tragedy. Sequestration is the latest in the series of tragedies that have struck federal employees, and is part of a general trend against public employees.
Workers are often stressed dealing with their actual work and relations with their managers, and they have to deal the arbitrary cuts from actions likely the sequestration, as well as the overall political environment that demonizes public employees as high-paid, bureaucrats. They literally do not know where and how the next adverse employment action will affect them.
This is a shame. Many government jobs demand high levels of education; master’s degrees, law degrees and PhDs are not uncommon. These employees often see their jobs a fulfilling an important function, from federal judges and court employees, food inspectors working for the Department of Agriculture, to Border Patrol agents and Air Traffic Controllers.
To feel as if you are under attack merely because you are doing job, and an important one at that, can be truly demoralizing. Many federal agencies have had hiring and pay freezes, even before the threat of cuts and furloughs from the sequestration. Many workers are worried how they will pay their bills when they are faced with potentially weeks of unpaid furloughs.
It is somewhat ironic that federal employees are targeted because they are better compensated than many other employees in the marketplace. However, that has more to do with lack of adequate compensation by private employers, than unbridled generosity on behalf public employers.
If you have suffered any adverse job actions that you believe are unfair and illegal, an attorney experienced with employment law matters can help you protect your rights.
Source: The Washington Post, “As sequester furloughs loom, federal workers turn to local union leaders,” Steve Hendrix, Mar 25, 2013