Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fed Up Federal Workers

Pay freezes, pay cuts, pension cuts, benefit cuts, unpaid furloughs, the threat of prosecution if you blow the whistle on waste or fraud or worse, the threat of prosecution of you fail to turn in your co-workers as "insider threats." What's not to love about a job like that?

So a few Congressional Democrats are baffled and concerned about a survey showing that morale among federal workers has been steadily falling in recent years, and they want an investigation. Three of them have sent a strongly-worded letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) seeking solutions on how to reverse this mysterious unhappiness trend. Because somebody has got to be held accountable! And it doesn't look like that Somebody will be the guy who ordered the pay freezes, suggested the Sequester, prosecuted more whistle-blowers under the Espionage Ace than in any previous administration, and transformed federal office buildings into pits of paranoia. From The Washington Post:
“Stakeholders, including federal employee organizations, have noted that federal workers have become increasingly dissatisfied with their employment, and that this may be compromising the federal government’s ability to serve the American people,” the letter said.
Results from the annual federal-employee viewpoint survey and the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report, which ranks federal agencies based on their survey scores, show that government-wide job satisfaction has declined for the past three consecutive years.
The letter calls on the GAO to report on root causes of worker discontent and how dissatisfaction affects retention, performance and productivity. It also asks the watchdog to identify the best practices that have helped certain agencies buck the trend and improve morale in recent years.
I'm surprised that workers even mustered up the courage to openly broadcast their disgruntlement in a survey. As McClatchy Newspapers revealed last year, President Obama had deemed disgruntled workers to be potential terrorist threats even before Ed Snowden rattled his cage. Failure to do one's ergonomic duty and spy on co-workers is grounds for punishment. Managers who fail to punish the underlings who refuse to report suspicious cubicle dwellers and bedpan emptiers could themselves be brought up on criminal charges under Obama's executive order. If the woman handling your Social Security application over the phone is having marital problems, the guy at the next desk is mandated to snitch on her. If the poultry inspector down the line is late on the rent, you'd better turn him in. You never know when he might snap and declare jihad. Or worst of all, leak something that might ruffle the feathers of the president.

According to McClatchey the worst place to work is the Defense Department. Working past quitting time, and reading The Onion and Salon on lunch breaks are potential threats and must be brought to the immediate attention of superiors.

And morale is going down? I am surprised more federal workers haven't quit their jobs using the Chinese factory worker method: jumping out of windows.

Conservatives want to drown government in a bathtub. Centrist Democrats like Obama prefer to shrink government through a sneaky program of human attrition. Make unionized government workers rattled and unhappy, and then point to their decreased performance and efficiency as an excuse to privatize everything, enrich your plutocratic friends, and drive down wages to subsistence levels.

Neoliberalism is on the march.


Cirze said...

And it ain't stopping.

Until we drown it in the bathtub.

Individually, if necessary.

Love ya,


Neoliberalism is on the march.

1949fed said...

As a retired federal employee, I can tell you that this morale busting has been going on for more than 30 years--started with Raygun. Glad I'm retired, as are most of my fed friends. Most of the private federal contractors are a waste of taxpayer money, plus there is no accountability, either.