On the morning of the fourth day of the U.S. government shutdown, Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and hundreds of union and non-union federal workers came to the Capitol to protest. Some traveled from faraway states like South Carolina and Florida, and they represented various departments of the government, such as the U.S. Treasury, IRS, Departments of Commerce, Education and Defense, the Food and Drug Administration, and NASA. Scientists, analysts, technicians, park landscapers, drivers, and inspectors continue on an indefinite furlough.
At the rally Colleen Kelly, president of National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), spoke about the need for federal workers to get back to work–for their families and the millions of people who depend on vital government services. Other speakers demanded Congress put aside differences and pass a balanced budget to put 850,000 people back to work.
As the week progressed, federal workers became less reluctant to picket the U.S. Capitol while Congress continued to be embroiled in the budget debate. The international press was there recording the spectacle. Continue reading