A walkout of federal employees is set to take place on Tuesday over policy decisions in the war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has called for employees who engage in the protest to be fired.
In a statement on X, Johnson said, “Any government worker who walks off the job to protest US support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired.”
Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired.
Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency… https://t.co/jcWa4bI3Db
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) January 14, 2024
“Oversight Chairman Comer and I will be working together to ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job,” he continued.
The walkout is reportedly scheduled for Tuesday and has been organized by the “Feds United for Peace.” Employees from at least 22 federal organizations are likely to demonstrate in the walkout.
A small Instagram page that is allegedly associated with the effort has popped up online with the handle @fedsunited4peace.
As of Monday morning, the page only has two posts, but it had three prior to the most recent one being deleted.
One post offers guidance on what the staffers are to do on the day of the “walkout.”
It says that staffers at various federal agencies should “stay home from work on Tuesday.”
Further counseling staffers to participate in the “walkout,” the post states, “We ask that you give proper notification of your absence on January 16. We recommend that you notify your supervisor. You may explain it as a need to take a personal day if you prefer not to divulge your participation in the Day of Mourning.”
Feds United for Peace explains in the posts that they have “consulted” with “lawyers” who said that this strategy to stage the walkout is not a violation of federal law.
AL-Monitor spoke to the organizers of the walkout and they expect “easily hundreds” of staffers to participate.
The walkout “grew out of a collective desire to do what we could to influence the Biden administration’s policy on this issue,” one of the organizers said.
“What you’re seeing with this effort is something very unusual, and that is for dissent to be manifested via a physical act,” they said.
“This is not a strike. This is a day of mourning. The purpose is to provide space for ourselves to mourn and heal. We serve the American people every day and do so with conviction and pride,” the organizers told Al-Monitor.
Some online have wondered if a staged walkout would be a violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits federal employees from engaging in politically partisan activity while on duty. If the staffers merely “stay home,” this could be a potential legal loophole.
Won’t this be a violation of the Hatch Act? They deserve to be fired for dereliction of duty and acting political on official time. https://t.co/BVDuiOmAkJ
— JTTallman (@JTTallman) January 13, 2024
According to reporting from the outlet, staffers will include those from the Executive Office of the President, the National Security Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs as well as US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Naval Research Laboratory.
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