The United States Government shutdown began on December 22, 2018, affecting around 800,000 employees. Multiple United States Government employee unions are bringing legitimate wage claim violations to court, citing workers are unlawfully forced to work without pay. Federal agencies are violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
A United States federal judge on January 15 declined to allow workers to stay home due to the safety risk to the country. He also stated that intervention in political squabbles was not within judicial purview.
Friendly support from Canada
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association joined other claimants on behalf of its essential employees. In December, Canadian air traffic controllers in 35 different control centers pooled their money and sent pizza to dozens of U.S. air traffic control stations. American NATCA members appreciated this gesture of solidarity as their Canadian colleagues acknowledged the hardship of working Americans denied the means to support their families.
Other essential agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, and border patrol workers, along with homeland security members, also claimed the right to receive unpaid wages. Over 50 percent of all IRS workers will be taken off furlough and sent back to work to deal with tax season without pay.
Costs could grow exponentially
During the 2013 U.S. government shutdown, the American Federation of Government Employees, a powerful federal union, also sued for their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act for delayed paychecks owed to their members. They prevailed, citing the FLSA statute that requires employers to pay employees on time. All of the union employees represented in the lawsuit were guaranteed double the amount of their back-pay in keeping with FLSA rules and fines for the government’s wage non-compliance.
Every American worker deserves fair pay standards
While the drama of hundreds of thousands of U.S. government employees makes headlines, there are ordinary civilian workers in Florida who are defrauded by employers every day. They are made to work unpaid overtime, do not receive regular paychecks on time, or are made to perform work above their pay scale without additional recompense. Any employee whose employer is taking wage or labor advantage may want to consult a professional who can work to restore what the employee deserves. The FLSA protects every American worker, not just government employees.