Photo: J. David Cox leads silent protest
On February 13, 2019 federal employee union members conducted a protest in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. At approximately twelve noon, the gathering stood silently with arms raised to send a signal to politicians in Washington that another government shutdown would not be tolerated. The silent protest was lead by AFGE President, J. David Cox who was joined by various other Union leaders including AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumpka.
Chanting and signs are not allowed in the Hart Building so the crowd stood silently with arms raised for 35 minutes (one minute for each day of the latest and longest government shutdown). Each minute was marked by the chime of a bell. After 35 minutes applause and chanting erupted with shouts of never again and warnings from the police to the crowd of federal workers to disburse. President Cox promised that if the politicians dared to allow another shutdown to happen he and union members would be in every Senate and Congressional Office every single day until it ended.
Federal workers were either forced to work or were furloughed without pay for thirty-five days starting December 22, 2018. Some employees are still waiting to get their back pay and federal contractors may never receive any back pay for the time they were locked out of work.