Federal employees have been under attack for the last few years. From the extremes of the actual government shut down, to the longer-lasting effects of the sequestration and furloughs, budget cuts, hiring and pay freezes, to the general projection from many politicians and the media that the federal government is too large and too expensive, the outlook for federal employees has rarely been less attractive.
The difficulty for many federal employees is that this is occurring at time when the situation for labor in general is at a nadir. Union membership throughout the American workforce is low, and the economic recovery of the last few years has brought few jobs. By comparison, to many part-time, minimum wage jobs, federal pay and benefits may appear very generous.
Of course, that is often due to the demanding educational requirements of the positions, many requiring advanced degrees. So, in order to alter the public perception of why federal employees are necessary and important, one federal union, National Treasury Employees Union, has produced advertising spots to inform the public about the value of the federal workforce.
They profile one employee of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, who is an attorney and he discusses the important of the work done by the PTO for the U.S. economy. The piece points out the importance of patents, trademarks and other intellectual property issues to the economy. The PTO estimates that 40 million jobs directly or indirectly rely on the work of the PTO.
This important work is repeated across the entire federal workforce. The spectrum of work federal employees perform is wide and varied, from federal judges to air traffic controllers, to scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are engaged in vital work that helps the nation’s economy and citizens.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Federal employee unions look to improve image of workforce,” Matthew Hay Brown, February 14, 2014