Unions protest government shutdown

First Posted: 10/15/2013

LIMA — About a dozen workers and union officials turned out at the federal building Tuesday to protest the 15-day-old government shutdown.

With the government only two days from losing its ability to borrow money and many government workers already furloughed from their jobs, Ohio AFL-CIO worker and protest organizer Kate Jacob said now is the time to end the shutdown.

“There are thousands of people furloughed from their jobs across the state,” Jacob said. “Every day the government is shut down, it has an immediate impact on the economy. It has a rippling effect. People are not spending money and putting it back into the local economy.”

Workers with United Auto Workers union Local 1219 and the Laborers International union Local 329 stood in front of the federal building on North Street holding signs with statements such as “End the Republican shutdown,” “O-H-I-O, this shutdown has to go,” and “Jim Jordan get to work.”

Another protest was being held in Bowling Green on Tuesday. Jacob said several federal parks in Wood County were at risk.

“The Republicans are taking hostage of the government because they can’t get their way,” Jacob said. “We don’t want any cuts to our Social Security and our Medicare. The tax cuts they are proposing will cut jobs.”

Jacob also circulated a letter for people to sign that she said will be delivered to U.S. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, after the protest. The letter spelled out many demands, but mainly focused on repealing sequestration, protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from cuts, and repealing all tax incentives for companies moving jobs overseas. The letter said that repeal of the incentives would create $583 billion in revenue to help rebuild the economy.

Tim Lucewireman, treasurer for the Laborers union, said they basically are looking for lawmakers to get back to work.

“We want Congress to get back to work so we can get back to work,” Lucewireman said. “They shouldn’t be collecting a paycheck. We would like to see them work together, no matter what party they are. It has been a long time since that has happened.”

George Jeffries, who works for UAW Local 2147 at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, said lawmakers need to take American people into account when making their decisions.

“We have to work every day for a living,” Jeffries said. “They should have to. Neither side is willing to give. They are running the government by extortion and blackmail.”

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