Baltimore Sun : 2019-11-08

NATION & WORLD : 7 : 7


7 NEWS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2019 | | THE BALTIMORE SUN NATION & WORLD An Open Letter to SSA Commission­er Andrew Saul Dear Commission­er Saul, We are the employees who serve 63 million Social Security recipients every day in 1,200 field offices, teleservic­e centers, payment service centers, hearing offices, regional offices, and at headquarte­rs in Baltimore. We are average Americans, called to serve our fellow citizens and provide key resources to America’s most vulnerable population­s. Yet recent actions, under your leadership, have made it clear that the Social Security Administra­tion is not invested in its employees. As a result, our work will suffer. The Trump administra­tion has only sought to vilify the federal workforce and prevent us from doing the people’s work. Our colleagues in other agencies face abrupt relocation across the country, see their research attacked, and lose employee rights on a daily basis. At SSA, you leveraged hostile executive orders to force our union to accept an unfair employee contract. Last week, SSA revoked telework, a successful policy dating back to 2013. This abrupt action forced 12,000 employees to scramble for childcare and elder care, driving down their productivi­ty and increasing stress. Telework, which has been widely adopted in the private sector, is proven to increase employee recruitmen­t and retention, as well as efficiency. Thousands of SSA employees reported the ability to take on more work on days they worked from home, providing the best possible service to the American people. Surely an administra­tion that has preached about the virtues of the private sector would not drive its own agencies backward? We call on Congress to hold hearings on SSA under your leadership and reopen our contract. As these changes continue to harm the productivi­ty of SSA employees, Americans who rely on our service will begin to take note. The American people need a Social Security Administra­tion that is dedicated to providing the best customer service possible, and for that reason we call on Congress to hold hearings on SSA under your leadership and reopen our contract. You insist on casting blame on federal employees, but you forget that we come to work every day to serve the American people. As the late Elijah Cummings once said, “federal employees come to government to feed their souls, to help other people, to make their lives better.” We need your fullest support to provide the best public service, and if you fail to do so, we call on Congress to stand up for federal employees. Signed, Ralph C. de Juliis AFGE Council 220 President Paid for by AFGE Council 220

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