WOODLAWN, Md. (WJZ)—At nearly a hundred places around the country, the people who work for the Social Security Administration spent their lunch hour trying to get the attention of Congress and voters.
Mike Schuh reports that their jobs are on the line.
Unusual sounds were heard during lunchtime at Social Security headquarters, as works chanted “No cuts! No layoffs!”
They want their cry to be heard.
A Republican proposal to cut $61 billion means taking away $ 1.7 billion from Social Security— not benefits, but what it costs to run it.
Such a cut means these workers could be sent home for a month.
“There are a lot of hard-working people here. All they want to do is come to work and do a good job,” said Elliot Polanski, Social Security employee.
So, there was a protest and a promise that many others will suffer.
“If I’m not here, who’s going to answer the phone?” said Ina Pope, Social Security employee.
“The last time there was a shutdown over 800,000 calls were not answered,” said Bob Nichols, AFGE political director.
“There will be hundreds of thousands of people who will suffer,” Polanski said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“It’s ridiculous, Social Security? You’re trying to cut when we are trying to help people?” Pope said.
Their union wants Congress to feel the pressure.
“Get people talking, calling radio talk shows and say what the hell are you doing with Social Security,” said Wirtold Skwierczynski, AFGE.
With Congress voting in a two-week budget extension, the 10,000 people in Woodlawn have some breathing room, but they warn of more protests unless their cuts are eliminated.
The government also announced that this year Social Security will pay out more benefits than it takes in from taxes—a threshold that wasn’t expected to happen for another five years.