NTEU: Federal Employees Need Security, Not Scorn
Union leader asks agency heads to conduct a thorough review of all security protocols and protections at their work sites.
Federal employees are afraid for their safety.
Let that sink in. Elected officials and others with media megaphones won’t stop lying about them, and as a result our nation’s civil servants are being targeted.
One of our goals at the National Treasury Employees Union is to help Americans better understand frontline federal employees: who they are and the work they do every day on behalf of the public. We’ve always believed that the more people know about federal employees, the more they will appreciate the value they add to society and respect their service.
Lies and distortions about federal workers are a matter of life and death, and we know that from recent history. The Murrah building in Oklahoma was bombed in 1995, and someone intentionally flew a plane into an IRS facility in Texas in 2010. In both cases, innocent, hard-working civil servants were injured and murdered simply because they showed up to their government jobs.
The IRS, especially in recent days, has been targeted with the type of disinformation that too often leads to violence: Baseless fear-mongering. Once again, just to be clear, IRS employees answer calls from taxpayers who need help; process tax returns; help businesses and individuals comply with the tax code; and collect the revenue that pays for the government services you depend on.
Unfortunately, disinformation about any federal agency, whether it is the IRS, the FBI or the National Archives, creates distrust in government generally. And it is alarming to federal employees across the country.
That is why NTEU has asked leaders at every agency where we represent workers to conduct a thorough review of all security protocols and protections at their work sites. We are asking for a fresh look at each agency’s risk assessment security level designation; building entry control systems, including the number of guards; perimeter security; exterior lighting; designation of restricted areas; and other security procedures.
Meanwhile, federal employees keep doing their jobs and our country continues to benefit. But those federal workers must now be cautious about disclosing where they work, hiding the workplace badges that identify their agencies, and paying more attention to their surroundings.
Shamefully, many of those spreading these lies, including some elected officials, know better. They know full well that our merit-based civil service is comprised of professionals who took an oath to the Constitution and do their job no matter which party holds the White House. NTEU will continue to counter the harmful rhetoric about federal employees with facts and truth. In the meantime, security upgrades at the office will help employees feel safe on the job.
NTEU urges all Americans to resist those who demonize our nation’s civil servants and instead remember that they live in your neighborhood, shop at the same stores, provide for their families, and selflessly chose a career in public service.