"Hell No" to Cuts, Say Government Workers

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)When the crowd exuberantly took up AFGE President J. David Cox’s war-cry of “Not ‘no’ but ‘hell, no!’” with the Capitol dome gleaming in the bright sun behind him, the noontime rally took on a sharper edge of anger and frustration. Waving signs saying “Jobs Not Cuts,” “We’ve Sacrificed Enough,” and “Hands Off Social Security” over 1,500 AFGE and AFSCME members – joined by CWA, IATSE, the Painters and more – roared their support as their leaders castigated Congress for failing to pass a budget, threatening government services and jobs. “It doesn’t matter what colors you wear today,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders as he looked out on the crowd dominated by AFSCME green and AFGE blue. “We stand in solidarity as one, for the families who depend on us across the country. Because somebody has to stand up…and today that somebody is you!” You could have heard a pin drop on the muddy ground as Florida nurse Michelle Warner, a Desert Storm vet, shared the story of how government health insurance saved her son’s life. “Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security make our lives bright and better,” Warner said. AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, who said that “sequestration is just a long word to hide a very bad idea,” and finished the rally by saying “This is our country. We built it and we’re going to take it back!” The chant of “Take it back!” echoed off the walls of the Capitol as the crowd – most of whom came from AFGE and AFSCME legislative conferences -- headed in to lobby their elected leaders. - report/photos by Chris Garlock


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