As US shutdown reaches breaking point, Donald Trump Govt sued by America’s largest labour union over unpaid wages

New York: The Donald Trump government has been sued by America’s largest labour union American Federation of Government Employees representing about 400,000 federal employees who are seeking damages for being forced to work without pay during the partial government shutdown brought on by Trump’s 11th hour tantrum over his $5 billion demand for a border wall, just days before the Christmas holidays in the US.

Nearly all the nine departments and agencies hit by the shutdown which began 22 December are running out of their carryover cash as the pay period for the next paycheck ends 5 January. At least 19 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will close to the public on 2 January because their temporary funds are totally exhausted.

 As US shutdown reaches breaking point, Donald Trump Govt sued by America’s largest labour union over unpaid wages

Demonstrators fly a blimp portraying U.S. President Donald Trump. AP

The two plaintiffs — Justin Tarovisky and Grayson Sharp — who work at high-security prisons run by the Justice Department have been forced to work overtime without pay, just like hundreds of thousands of other workers who live paycheck to paycheck. But Trump hardly seems to care. Instead, in his second post to Twitter of 2019, Trump wished everyone — “including the haters and the fake news media” — a caps-lock happy new year: "HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME," the US president wrote on Twitter. "JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!"

As Trump continues taunting the Opposition but refuses to say whether he will sign on anything at all, it’s already 10 days since 800,000 workers have been flung onto thin ice, with no word on when they’ll get their next wage. The lawsuit debunks Trump’s tall claims of wide support for his shutdown stunt; Trump's exclamation and typo filled insults on Twitter are getting to be boring, rambling and not moving the needle one bit. Trump has dug in and so has the Opposition, this week is going to be a big one in Washington DC and Democrats are in no hurry to tell Trump how they'll play their cards in payback season. To call the change a shake-up seems almost like an understatement. The freshman class of 2019 is younger, browner and more female than ever before after the largest Democratic gains in midterms since Watergate.

Democrats in the House unveiled two bills Monday to fund shuttered government agencies without approving money for Trump's border wall and put hundreds of thousands of federal workers back on the job. They plan to pass them as soon as the new Congress convened Thursday, one of the first acts after Democrats take control.

White House officials, including Trump's departing chief of staff John Kelly have exposed the inner workings behind Trump's signature campaign pledge to build the wall. Chief of staff John Kelly told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday that Trump abandoned the notion of "a solid concrete wall early on in the administration." The Democratic package to end the shutdown would include one bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels, with $1.3 billion for border security — far less than $5 billion Trump has said he wants for the wall — through Feb. 8 as talks continued.

The ducks are lined up something like this: Donald Trump seems to be enjoying the shutdown, he is setting the agenda, politicos are talking about what he wants them to talk about and because they are doing this, Trump can keep tweeting about what he wants to tweet on the border wall, fueling his base and distracting from the looming Mueller probe finale that may hit any day now. The shutdown is not ending anytime soon, Trump won't allow it to because he doesn't care about the wall, he cares about the imagery alone.

Updated Date: Jan 01, 2019 21:33:23 IST