Fort Hood: Federal employees rally for proposed budget

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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) Several dozen federal employees rallied Thursday at Fort Hood in hopes of generating public support as lawmakers in Washington get ready to write a budget bill.

(Photo by Kristen Victorin)

The 7,000 civilian federal employees work on Fort Hood are represented by the Local 1920 American Federation of Government Employees union.

About 50 employees rallied Thursday afternoon at the Bernie Beck visitor gate at Fort Hood, carrying signs asking for the public’s support of federal employees.

“Lawmakers are getting ready to put together a budget and it seems like every year, the federal workers, we get the brunt of it,” National Vice President of District 10 Cheryl Eliano said.

Employees said President Donald Trump's efforts to carve $18 billion for the 2017 fiscal year’s budget funnels downs to their agencies, concerned about pay and hiring freezes among other existing issues.

“Where you used to have maybe five people doing a job, now you're down to two people,” Eliano said.

Executive Vice President of AFGE Local 1920 Shareef Valentine said employee shortages are especially tough on the 47 percent of federal employees who are veterans.

“Were getting hit twice because I can't go to my veteran’s appointments because there's nobody to cover down for me so I can't take leave,” Valentine said.

Valentine and many others said their presence was a way to show who the federal employees are on Fort Hood.

“We are the doctors, the nurses, the daycare center workers,” he said. “We are the fast food workers and we are the people that take care of the soldiers.”

Congress will need to decide on a spending package by April 28 to avoid a government shutdown.