We hope that this is our final post on the Shutdown.
‘I told you so!’ is something people love to say but hate to hear! But, in all humility and without gloating, we must draw attention to what we said in one of our previous posts about how the shutdown could result in the defection of federal workers to private employers. Even as we were postulating on the consequences, a job board site was created (apparently during a 5 hour window on the first day of the shutdown) offering temporary gigs to furloughed employees, receiving over 50000 page views in about 2 weeks!
This time around, the federal employees may only have felt unproductive and gotten bored. A repeat of the furlough may not have them waiting around, docilely – should the shutdown happen again! The site, in the meantime could grow in strength – helping to forge the connections made this time around and turning the gigs into actual job offers.
The Essential – Non-essential Conundrum:
Apart from the federal workers actually furloughed, and workers who worked without a paycheck, many other state employees have also been furloughed as states faced cuts in funds. A program offering food assistance to of new-born infants ran out of money and had to shut down. Private employers were unable to complete the onboarding of new employees as the e-Verify system was not working during the shutdown; effectively depriving people of employment opportunities!
Services from OSHA, EEOC, and Consumer Product Safety Association, the Food and Drug Association, aircraft and many other federal agencies provide services which offer protection to the citizens of America and many of their services cannot be really considered non-essential. Witness how the Center for Disease Control had to recall its scientists when a salmonella outbreak affected 338 people in 20 states. Nor can aircraft maintenance be considered non-essential.
All those workers who were doing or seeking temporary federal jobs have been affected by this definition of essential and non-essential services. Contractors who provide workers to some federal agencies were hit hard, as each of their contracts required verification before deciding whether the work being done by their workers was essential or not!
The continued uncertainty is causing many who work for the federal government, or who hold positions indirectly dependent on government funding, to consider other options. Many have begun job searches, stating that they cannot afford to repeat this experience in January. Those who are looking point to the continued inability of our legislators to compromise, and fear that the next shutdown will have even greater impact. Forcing a willing and able employee to idle away, in uncertainty and boredom, not to mention financial stress – is not a fair recompense to any worker.
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