November 2003 (Newstream)—Thanksgiving usually means two things to American families: turkey and travel. But to the AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) - a coalition representing over 600,000 government workers - it symbolizes American lives that will possibly be risked if the Bush administration succeeds with its plan to privatize vital government services.
The Office of Management Budget (OMB) has implemented a pro-contractor privatization process that would cut thousands of government jobs and staff many of the remaining ones through private companies. In addition to costing government workers their livelihoods, the AFGE strongly believes that privatization jeopardizes American safety regarding everything from food inspection to travel security.
One of the proposed cuts includes reducing the number of federal screeners at airports and replacing the remaining screeners with private employees. These changes have been proposed despite a 2003 study shows that 69 percent of Americans feel safer with federal screeners. In the aftermath of 9/11, the AFGE feels strongly that private airport security would not take the same precautions as federal employees to ensure flyers are safe.
Another proposed cut includes reducing the number of federal food inspectors at chicken and hog plants. As opposed to objective government employees regulating health standards at meat plants, companies would be relied upon to regulate themselves, greatly increasing the risk of unsanitary conditions.
Profit motivation can never replace safety. According to the AFGE, giving government jobs to private companies puts the quality of American safety at risk. Additionally, they claim there is no evidence that the proposed cuts would save any taxpayer money at all.
From travel to turkey, we need to think of all the federal employees who devote their lives to protecting America`s safety. Now, it`s our turn to protect them.
To find out more about fighting the privatization of government jobs, go to www.afge.org