Federal Employees Labor Union Sues Trump Administration Over Government Shutdown

On Monday, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a federal employees labor union, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration related to the government shutdown. The partial shutdown has forced approximately 400,000 employees to work without receiving wages. AFGE brought the lawsuit on behalf of its affected members, as well as other federal employees required to work without pay.

According to the lawsuit, the federal government has violated the law by requiring certain federal employees to work without pay throughout the ongoing shutdown. Many of these employees work in dangerous roles where their lives are put at risk on the daily, AFGE’s national president J. David Cox Sr. stated. Such roles include Border Patrol and ICE agents, correctional officers, and transportation security officers, among other workers deemed to be “essential” to government operations.

The lawsuit alleges that the shutdown and refusal to pay “essential” federal employees is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. After a similar lawsuit was filed as a result of the government shutdown in 2013, a U.S. Court of Federal Claims subsequently ruled that the roughly 25,000 federal employees required to work without pay during that shutdown were entitled to twice their back pay due to the violation.

Additional Reading

Federal Employees Union Sues Trump Administration Over Shutdown, Axios, January 1, 2019

American Federation of Government Employees and Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch Sue the Government Over Shutdown, AFGE.org, December 31, 2018

Judge Orders Double Pay for Thousands of Federal Workers Affected by 2013 Shutdown, USnews.com, February 16, 2017

Tarovisky & Sharp v. US – full complaint

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