Politics in your office: Do you know who’s who?

Although feds are supposed to avoid partisan politics at work, chances are you have a pretty good idea how most of your colleagues voted in the last election. And you know how they will vote this coming November.

In many states and congressional districts the active-retired fed vote — around 6 million people — could tilt the balance.

Think of communities with an IRS service center, a VA medical facility, a federal prison, a major Social Security operation or an Army, Navy or Air Force base making Uncle Sam the primary employer. Now think of places such as California, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Illinois, Colorado, Oklahoma and Washington state.

Federal and postal unions lean Democrat, some heavily and most for decades. Now it’s more than ever, as the White House seeks to perform major surgery in the federal retirement plan.


But what about rank-and-file union members and the even larger number of federal workers who don’t belong to any union at all? Should Democratic politicians take the civil service vote for granted, if there is such a thing, or should Republican politicians write feds off because they are a lost cause?

Even if off-year elections normally leave you cold this one is a biggie. The Democrats need to add 23 seats to take control of the House. More than 40 incumbent Republicans —  a record number — won’t be returning because they are retiring or moving on to something else.

Can the GOP hold enough seats to keep control? Would a split Congress of a Republican Senate and Democratic House halt the drive to drain-the-swamp and cut benefits, or would it make any difference? And is there any need to court feds and retirees if they are already tucked in with the Democrats, as many pols believe?

In a recent Your Turn radio show, J. David Cox of the American Federation of Government Employees made the case for his union’s support of Democratic candidates. That prompted an AFGE local president to make the case for bipartisan support of candidates.

A number of readers reacted to a Federal Report on May 4 asking if feds were primarily red, blue or purple in their politics. For example:

  • ”When I first became a federal employee and active with my local union in 1970, I and my fellow union supporters proudly pointed out that we were political without being partisan. This approach helped us to remain a unified group focused on improving our pay and benefits and working both sides of the aisle to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, by the time I retired in 2012 my union and virtually all of the others had become full-fledged partisan Democrats with regard to both policies and electioneering. As a consequence, Trump and his allies have absolutely nothing to lose, and perhaps something to gain by going after official time and other provisions that strengthen the position of federal employee unions.” — Maryland Man via New York
  • “I remember the time when at least some of the federal/postal unions had one or two people on the staff who had good ties with Republicans — members and the all important staff people. There were lunches, talks, explanations, sometimes favors. The point is that while the union national leadership was usually close to national Democrats they also had points of contact with the Republicans. I know this was true when Republicans Frank Wolf and Tom Davis held office in Virginia, and Connie Morella of Maryland was a good friend to federal workers and retirees. Gone are the days. Now its all in.” — G.M.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Unlike a palindrome, which reads the same backward and forward, a semordnilap reads one way forward and a different way backward. Examples of “stressed” and “desserts,” “dog” and “god,” and “diaper” and “repaid.”

Sources: World Wide Words