Social Security Employees Protest Against Cuts, Layoffs

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.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Matt

    What a shame, a gov’t agency with no quotas who basically work when they want to getting funding cuts, oh no! Lets put some restrictions on the employees and actually set some standards of work at this place. Hope the MVA is next!

    • JK

      Matt is RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rod

      If it’s such a great place to work you should get a job there.

  • Geri

    They used their lunch time to make their protest; they did not do what the workers in WI are doing, not being at work at all. They have a right to a peaceful protest. There are really some people who actually work at the Social Security Administration, if they didn’t, than no one would be receiving their benefits! Think about that before you speak.

  • Ronnie

    I LOVE how some people comment on something they REALLY dont understand. These people are working stiffs just like private industry employees who depend on a paycheck to pay their bills and take care of their kids! Get a clue, THEN, come back and comment ONLY after you understand what the heck you are saying!!

    • val palicki

      Government should pay back trillions of dollars it “borrowed” from SS! Quit wasting money on foreign aid and wars we can’t win!

  • Helen

    Jodina/Matt and any others who may say the workers should be at their desks,
    The workers shown in the photographs and videos took time during their LUNCH BREAK to make a show of solidarity against cutting the Social Security operating budget.

    If the operating budget is cut as much as Congress threatens, the impact will be felt not only by SSA workers but by many people who need SSA services to make ends meet. This also includes anyone needing to obtain a Social Security Number.

    Congress has shown time and again that they don’t really care about the middle and lower class citizens. Their only concern is for multi-million dollar businesses. Why do you think the richest Americans get richer and the poorest Americans get poorer? It’s your Congress at work.

    Think about that next time you have difficulty finding a job or need a second job just to make ends meet.

  • adamritter

    “Who is gonna answer the phone?” are you serious? Start by shutting your mouth.
    Not one Federal employee I know has lost one dime during this crisis. I have been laid off by 2 trucking companies in the last year. Worked only 5 out of 16 months.
    As far as I am concerned you people in Woodlawn can get replaced by the internet. We don’t need forms, we can get those on line. We have questions, we don’t call you people, we look up the answer on line. Good luck finding another job that pays what you make. Its a 10.00 an hour at taco bell for you!

    • bill b

      sounds like your jealous and angry at the wrong people. you should take a step back and breathe and think about who you should be angry with

  • D A B

    @Jodina @ Matt I have to agree you 2 don’t have a clue. not only the elderly not get an increase for 2 years, but also the kids that receive SSI and everyone else that receive sometype of social security check. The government workers agreed to go without a pay raise for 2 years then congress decided we will furlough them. Maybe if you worked for the government you would understand what they are protesting about. I hope the both of you are not near retirement age/ or become disable , if those workers were to be furlough. WHY DO PEOPLE THINK GOVERNMENT WORKERS DON’T WORK? think about that when you do your taxes.

  • Steve Kofahl, AFGE

    When will you post my comment sent yesterday concerning the misleading statement about Social Security solvency? Feel free to call me at 425-275-8770 (cell) if you need additional information or have questions. Thank you!

    • adamritter

      why not post it right here, right now?

  • R West

    A case of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

  • R West

    If they shut down the government a lot of people are going to suffer.. Think about it Morons

  • Steve Kofahl, AFGE

    Yesterday’s story on the evening news concerning the impact of proposed budget and staffing cuts on the hard-working employees of SSA, and on the public they serve, ended with an unfortunate misrepresentation regarding program solvency. The fact is that the Social Security Trust Funds now have a surplus of $2.6 Trillion, which will exceed $4 Trillion by 2024. The surplus for this year alone is projected to be over $113 Billion, with annual surpluses projected each year through 2024. The information is based on the intermediate economic assumptions provided by the Chief Actuary, available at

    • adamritter

      By I believe 2027 there will only be one worker putting in money to the fund for 5 people collecting off the fund. That is what can and will bankrupt the system unless changes are made, like raising the retirement age to 75 for example. Surplus is like saying the Fed prints money so there will never be a shortage.

  • Over Burdened With BS

    As it is today, the Social Security system is on a self-destruction course. THat is, unless congress looks at the cause of the causes of the issues. Social Security was created for RETIREMENT. Nowadays, it has gotten so easy for some to get SSI (Disability Social Security). So many young people are padding up their bellies with Big Macs and Whoppers it isn’t funny. Then after cinsuming 3 or 4 years of burgers and weighing too much to weight themselves on a conventional scale, they then claim they are too out of shape to work. They go to the doctor, get a slip, then WHAMMO, they are on SSI. This makes me sick. Grant it, there are some that really need it. However, there are so many that don’t need it that get it is disturbing. And this is what’s breaking the system. It’s not over-hiring or over-paying. The system is being over-worked to pay the lazy…..

  • peaeyeinmd

    They should stop ALL payments and make everyone re-apply with proper ID….there’s your savings. Put $$$ on it a lot of dead people are still collecting SS

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