Texas Machinists Hit the Street to Block Furloughs

03 26 2013 Houston

Among those taking part in an anti-sequestration rally outside the office of Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold’s office were IAM Local 2049 Vice President Marcos Betancourt and his three daughters: Xalynn Betancourt, 13; Yasmeen Betancourt, 14 and Zoe Betancourt, 2.

For the second time in three weeks, IAM members of Locals 2049 and 2916 joined forces outside the offices of Texas Republican Blake Farenthold to send an unmistakable message that union members and government workers will not be silent victims of the manufactured crisis known as sequestration.

Waving flags and armed with bullhorns, enthusiasm and outrage, the union members declared that their wages, pension benefits and health care were not the cause of budget deficits and they would not be made scapegoats in a right-wing campaign to protect corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

A former conservative talk radio host and member of the Tea Party caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, Farenthold drew the protestors ire by supporting the outsourcing of federal jobs to private contractors and endorsing an end to Saturday mail delivery as a “no brainer.”

“Despite the rhetoric from politicians who see the federal workforce as overpaid and unnecessary, the fact is federal workers earn an average of 35 percent less than their counterparts in the private sector,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, who saluted the workers for their willingness to vocally oppose the cuts. “It’s high time the public hears the full story.”

Underscoring the importance of the issue to the entire community, the Machinists were joined by members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and members of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of federal workers is unfair, unnecessary and unbelievable short sighted,” said Local 2049 President Scott Dozier. “It punishes workers, their families and the local community while suppressing economic activity when we need it most.”

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