02/14/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2018 15:43
WASHINGTON, DC - This afternoon, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) gave brief remarks at the American Federation of Government Employees' (AFGE) legislative rally. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
'AFGE - a fairness for government employees. I don't know whether you've used that before, I just thought of that while I was standing there because you are out of here, as [Representative] Gerry Connolly said, for dignity. You're out here for fairness. You are not a piggy bank. The Administration has been using you as a piggy bank: $180 billion plus already out of wages and security and healthcare that you were promised when you were hired. That is not fairness for government employees.
'And the Administration has proposed another budget. And the President says things are going really well in America, and the stock market is exploding. But by the way, federal employees, no raise.
'Now look, you've been hearing a lot of speeches. It's cold out here. But what we are here to do is to make it hot - to make it hot, not only in Washington, DC, but in every community in America where federal employees make a difference for the American people, make a difference for the quality of life in America, make a difference for health care, make a difference for safety, make a difference for efficiency and effectiveness in serving the American people.
'And Gerry Connolly is absolutely right - dignity and respect. There is no employer in America that would treat its employees the way we treat our employees, and expect to be successful. A fairness for government employees. I could come up with something for AFSCME, I'm sure if I thought about a little bit here. I'm sure I maybe will. Fairness for all workers.
'I am so pleased you are out here. And you know what I always say, we need more of you. We need more people signing up for every one of these employee representatives. Because I will tell you, the more people we have sign up, the more people we have speak up, and the more people we have paying up.
'We've got a Supreme Court case, we ought to tell those Supreme Court Justices, hey, if we have to represent you, you ought to pay for it. And if that's not the case, then if I don't like what the federal government is doing, maybe I don't pay taxes. Same kind of rational.
'So I thank you for being here. And I want you to go back to your workplaces whenever you go back there this afternoon, and I want you to tell everyone of the people you work with - 'gee, I wish you were there with me.' I wish you were wearing that scarf or that hat or holding that sign. Because we need to see a strong, loud, and consistent message to all those folks in the Congress of the United States, and yes, we need some Republicans who are going to be with us.
'Frankly we've lost some. I've worked very closely with [former Representative] Frank Wolf, shoulder to shoulder making sure we didn't undermine our federal employees. He was a Republican and I was a Democrat, but we shared the view that the quality of work that you do, the commitment that you have to your country and your job, needs to be compensated in a fair way.
'So that not only will you have a feeling of respectand morale will be high, but so that when you leave, when you retire with that secure retirement that we have to ensure you have, that we can reach out to somebody else and say, come work for us. And if you come to work for us, we will respect you. If you come to work for us, we will pay you consistent with what people make in the private sector, which we are not doing now. And if you come to work with us, and you stay with us for 20 or 25 or 30 years, then in retirement, you will be secure and safe and you will feel that you earned that retirement, and that you've gotten that retirement.
'God bless you. God speed. Keep on keeping on. We can make it happen, we can make it happen. And we will make it happen with your help, with your fight, and with your voice. Thank you very much.'