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Letters: Sympathy for federal workers during partial shutdown

Reader letters to Newsday for Jan. 23, 2019

Furloughed federal workers receive food and supplies from

Furloughed federal workers receive food and supplies from the Food Bank for New York City at a pop-up distribution event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

If Transportation Security Administration employees and air traffic controllers did not come to work tomorrow, the shutdown would end the same day [“No sign of movement to end the shutdown,” News, Jan. 22]. It should be the government serving the people, not the people serving the government without pay.

Claire Lenz, Valley Stream

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers because as federal employees, their walkout was illegal. Now because of the government shutdown, many Transportation Security Administration agents are not showing up for work, and these absences may start to increase among other federal agencies where employees are also working without pay.

So if federal workers don’t show up for work because they are forced to find other employment to pay for housing or food for their families, is this an illegal strike?

In this case, I hope the courts don’t see this as a strike. What should be illegal is for an employer (the federal government) to require employees to work without pay.

Richard T. DeVito, Long Beach

I propose a telethon to show our support for the many people out of work because of the shutdown. Money has been raised for other people facing hardships, why not our federal workers? Does anyone have any connections? Know anyone famous? I think it’s a good idea, I just don’t know where to begin.

Kim Kamensky, Sayville

I am so envious of the furloughed government employees.

When I lost my job permanently at Grumman Corp. in the mid-1980s along with hundreds of other Long Islanders with cutbacks in programs including Hawkeye surveillance planes, there was much less help or sympathy. We were kicked to the curb like trash. There were no daily articles in Newsday about people lining up with free food. No banks created sweetheart deals for our loans, and the government never considered letting us slide on tax payments.

The State Assembly, the governor and other elected officials couldn’t swing into action fast enough when their own are involved. The rest of you are on your own.

Douglas Fortin, Oceanside

I am proud of my work as a federal employee in service to the country I love. Federal workers nationwide are forced to stay at home and wait for the government to reopen, and are no longer able to provide the services on which our fellow Americans rely.

Middle-class federal workers and their families are stretching their pennies until the shutdown is over. Even though pay will be restored eventually, bills still arrive on time even if paychecks don’t, and many federal employees are being forced to make difficult and unnecessary financial decisions to make ends meet.

Our legislators in Congress and the president need to stop playing political games with our government’s services and those who provide them. We are in a crisis, and our leaders must work to promptly reopen the government.

Mark Bernstein, Roslyn Heights

Editor’s note: The writer, retired from the IRS, is president of the New York State and Nassau County chapters of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees, an advocacy organization.

Perhaps the quickest way to end the government shutdown is for all of the White House staff to walk out. This would include Secret Service and others who are working without pay. If the first family had to do everything for itself, it might rethink the shutdown.

Helen Van Syckle, Levittown

I found Sol Wachtler’s Opinion page piece about constitutional duties very interesting and pointed [“Don’t blame Trump for the shutdown,” Jan. 17].

I did see him get on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s case for not bringing bills up for a vote, but I failed to see where he pointed out the same problem when Democrat Harry Reid was in charge of the Senate. For years, Reid would not bring budget bills up to be voted on. It was a continuing resolution or nothing.

I believe both the House and the Senate should require that when a member submits a bill, that body will have to vote on it within so many days, and both should a require that when one body receives a bill from the other body, it must be brought up for a vote within so many days.

William J. Van Sickle, Brentwood

I am ashamed to say I am from Long Island. I was appalled when a majority of readers wrote on the opinion page that they supported President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a border wall [“Readers weigh in on the wall,” Opinion, Jan. 10].

This is shameful and coldhearted! Are these people aware of how much suffering he has caused? Open the government and then discuss border security. However, a wall is ineffective. And the Democrats have passed many bills, all of which Trump has refused. He is like a spoiled toddler who will cry until he gets his candy.

Barbara Smucker, Levittown

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