The union leader noted that during prior government shutdowns, Congress authorized back pay for furloughed federal employees. She asked that lawmakers do so again this time.
“During the 1995-1996 government shutdown, Congress recognized that federal employees did not create the dilemma surrounding Congress’s inability to finish its work, and retroactively paid all federal employees. I urge you to follow that precedent and to support a final appropriations bill that does not penalize federal employees for the inability of Congress to act in a timely manner," Kelley writes.
NTEU has 150,000 members who work in several major federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Kelley's letter comes as other federal worker unions prepare for a government shutdown. Officials at the American Federation of Government Employees have said they would likely file a lawsuit against the federal government for workers' pay if a shutdown occurs.