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New radio ad tout federal workers

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 3:28 p.m. ET
The nation's largest federal worker union is taking to the airwaves to defend rank and file federal workers against growing anti-government sentiments.

The American Federation of Government Employees plans to spend about $200,000 to air a 60-second radio ad in more than 30 markets, including Washington and several Southern cities, according to a spokeswoman. (See the full list of cities below.)

The ad stars AFGE President John Gage and workers from the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration, telling listeners to "trust me" as they carry out their work.

"Some polls say Americans don't trust government, but listen to our members, the real people who work hard for you everyday," Gage says at the start.

A correctional officer at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colo. tells listeners: "Trust me, the terrorists are locked down tight."

A Social Security claims representative from Ft. Lauderdale says, "Senior citizens can trust me to get them the right check at the right time."

And a Veterans Affairs registered nurse tells listeners, "I care for veterans like family."

"You can trust us, we work for you," Gage says at the end.

The ad is the AFGE's attempt to humanize federal workers and remind listeners that proposals to cut federal spending and federal jobs would be irresponsible. The union will spend $200,000 to air the ad in more than 30 markets, primarily on news/talk, Country and sports talk radio stations in the South, according to a spokeswoman.

“We want people to know what those irresponsible ploys really mean," Gage said in a statement announcing the ad buy. "They mean reductions in social security for our seniors. They mean reduced services for our veterans. And, they mean fewer guards at our federal prisons. The men and women of the federal service are not nameless, faceless bureaucrats. They’re what hold our nation together."

But will the ad be enough to change opinions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

LIST OF CITIES WHERE THE RADIO ADD WILL AIR:

Macon, Ga.
Augusta, Ga.
Bloomington, Ind.
Cincinatti
Colorado Springs
Cleveland
Columbus
Columbia, S.C.
Huntsville, Ala.
Morgantown, W. Va.
Wheelling, W. Va.
San Antonio
Manchester, N.H.
Dayton
Toledo
Minneapolis
Pittsburgh
Atlanta
Seattle
Tampa
Washington, D.C.
Richmond
Charlotte, Va.
Norfolk, Va.
Montgomery, Ala.
Phoenix
Baton Rouge, La.
Tuscon, Ariz.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 10, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Comments

It really isn't anti-sentiment. It's the Republican Party in a media blitz to make Americans who don't have jobs, think that Federal workers have the plushest, best paying jobs in the whole world and that they are all political cronies. Perhaps there is a lot of sour grapes from the Republicans who lost their political jobs from the Bush years, or perhaps, there are still too many Bushies undermining President Obama's policies.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | August 10, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I think pkbishop misses the point on the issues that the taxpayer has with government employees. Its not that we resent them or think their jobs are easy, its we look around the country at others like us who are in salary freezes, reductions, or layoffs, and we see the the local, state, and federal government employees in some cases unwilling to accept reduced benefits, hours, or layoffs in these economic times.

Why are they any better than us?

Posted by: psusudzi92 | August 10, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

None of this PR is what honest people are looking for. We in the private sector are getting the job done under an immense burden of taxation, the associated regulations, licensing and the associated regulations.

Nobody is out there singing propaganda songs on our behalf. Just hearing this makes me the more suspect of their motives and the misplacement of funds to advocate for themselves instead of just doing their job.

We don't doubt that their are good people doing their jobs well in government. That is who the elitist sycophants always use, good people. We just perceive a culture of entitlement, waste and fraud that is entrenched in government.

This campaign in itself an exhibition of some high level sociopathic self aggrandizement. Drawing sympathy from the public by pushing out the message of the sheeple behind which the the instigators hide is pathetic and politics as usual.

Posted by: Toly | August 10, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

These people have bulletproof jobs with good salaries and raises and pensions. Those of us suffering in the private sector are sick of the disparity.

Posted by: dubuqueman | August 10, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

And it is not just federal employees. State and local employees also have a large pay and benefit edge over their private sector counterparts.

Also, note carefully which employees are used in the ads. Of course there are things that the government does for the citizens that it must do. Prisons? certainly.

but where are the employees of, oh say, the Dept Of Agriculture? You know all those well paid boys and girls who sit around deciding how large an egg should be to be called "jumbo" instead of "extra large"? We don't see them in the ads because the optics of that would destroy their message.

Americans have finally figured out that we are spending a fortune in taxes to pay the salaries of the people who publish 68,000 new federal register pages each year. Year after year.

It is bad enough that our freedom is eroding. It is bad enough that the standing government is so large that no one can bring it to heel. Now, on top of all of that we find that they are making more than those of use who fund them and live with thier regulations.

Nothing less than our liberty is at stake. A smaller, less intrusive government is what America needs now.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | August 10, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The 98.4% of federal employees who are lazy, illiterate, redundant, or otherwise a waste of life make the rest of them look bad.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 10, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: JimR8 | August 10, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What is there to like when ALL federal pay and promotions are tied to attendance not performance. Federal pay and benefits must be frozen now but congressmen like Connley to kowtow to the feds won't do what is right

Posted by: syoung29 | August 10, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Trust Me... I'm from the Government and I am here to help...

This is well worn opening line, the world over to a myriad of jokes, bolstered by the accumulated experience of those who have had any contact with governmental agencies.(from DMV to Courts)

The bible admonishes us... "Trust not in man..." it is the sure way to disappointment. If trust has to be artificially solicited that is a sure sign that something rotten under the hood. Do your job honorably and faithfully and you will find favor not only with your fellow men but, with God also.

Posted by: Toly | August 10, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.

The federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year.

Facts don't lie!

Posted by: tbastian | August 10, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The spiralling economic devastation this country has endured under the Obama regime...renders any message - at any cost - a ridiculous waste of money and resources.

Liberal media lies has made Americans realize that we are constantly LIED TO.

SAVE IT.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | August 10, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

All of you who are insulting federal employees are ignorant. The vast majority are dedicated, hard-working people. They're the ones who process yours Social Security claims, measure how much energy is used in industry and homes, enforce labor laws, and protect our borders. And, no, I'm not a federal employee. Your ignorance and hatred is astounding.

Posted by: Marylander4 | August 10, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Marylander4, find a new teat to suck on.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I am flaborgasted by most commentor's ignorance. I have worked private and public. My benefits were generally the same. I work so much harder in the Federal Gov't because of accountability. When you are entrusted w/the public trust, the burden is greater to serve.

While Iunderstand there are some ineffectual government employees, I can say the same for the private sector; utility companies, grocery store, dry cleaner, lawyers, doctors. Those with no work ethic are everywhere.

And raises aren't annual. Once you progress, you have to wait 2-3 years for a raise, even when you are a high performer.

Please remember, our troops are government workers; they are paid by Uncle Sam. If you think it' s so great, I suggest you apply. I think you'd be amazed how competitive it is! Also remember, WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS and THE LOWER CLASS. No one working for the goverment is getting rich.

The idea of life is to serve, not self-serve. Cutting pay and jobs is going to help the economy how? By having even fewer people able to pump money into the economy? By having more people collecting unemployment? Trust me, we are ALL suffering financially in this economy.

Posted by: stilldoin | August 10, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Agree with jiji1's comments 100%

The bottom line is if you think that the civil servants have it so good; just apply and get a civil servant job.

Alot of people confuse what the everyday worker in govermnemt does, with the elected House and Senate Members. They are the best Congress money can buy.
Federal Employees have to enforce the laws that they inact and fund.

So the best thing you can do is vote your elected official out... Republican and Democrat.

I have worked in the private Sector and Government...there are always lazy and incompetent employees in either.

It is not easy to work in government, where you have no "balance sheet" each month telling you when you have made a profit or loss. And you have to Bosses:
o The American Public
o The Elected officials.
o

Posted by: talketwo22 | August 11, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Marylander4, find a new teat to suck on.
Posted by: jiji1"

That clown is going places with such a low IQ. All you show is your Limbaugh/Beck hatred in your posts. Why waste our time? You are obviously clueless to anything, why waste your own time? Go learn and be something other than a lil brat on a news blog!

Pay for performance will never work in the white collar (GS) fed because there is no production or profit. It could work for most of the blue collar (WG) workers. GS workers are accountable in many different ways and they CAN be fired. So quit posting that Lambaugh/Beck lie! As others have stated, there are lazy, over paid workers both govt and private. Just walk into ANY corporation and see the lifestyle of the CEO or the CFO or anyone nominated to the committee or boards. They are ALL very wealthy! They pay their lobbyists VERY well to manipulate the laws and regulations for their favor, including having the GOP point the fingers at fed workers. But do you see ANY one of them willing to take a salary cut or benny cut? Not ONE single GOP congressman is willing to do that. There are SEVERAL democrats that is willing to do that... but majority rule!

As a GS worker, I am willing and perhaps able to allow no increases for a few years, perhaps cutting bennies here and there for a few years... but I DEMAND that our Congress folks TAKE THE LEAD! Those stingy hypocritic GOP folks are the first ones in the vote line to be sure THEY get their annual raise. Heck, all they have to do is NOTHING and they get a nominal raise! But those greedy bastierds want more and vote higher. Hmmm.. wonder why that doesn't hit the MSM each year!

Lastly, if the few of you negative posters don't like federal workers... please move to a cave in Montana and live off the land... because as the years go by, you and your family, your friends and your loved ones WILL need our assistance, help and attention. Sure would be drastic if that fed worker started feeling the same ABOUT each of YOU!

Posted by: darbyohara | August 11, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Exactly - pay for performance would never work because there is NO PERFORMANCE. It is the complete opposite of the current PAY FOR ATTENDANCE system. Why would any union agree to ending a system that requires nothing of the employee?

The 'crats like to talk about the five or six federal employees who do something useful, but ignore that for each of them there are 10,000 support staff doing nothing productive at all.

As darbyohara says, federal employees produce nothing. Nada. The best we can hope is that they minimize their rape of America's future.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The government didn't look like a good job when you graduated from Georgetown/Harvard/Yale/Cornell with your MA in Liberal Arts. You turned up your nose at our low paying "boring" jobs. The economy plunges, in large part thanks to your Ivy League pals on Wall Street. Who to blame? Ahh, right - the government employee you were too good to join. Well, suck it. We're hiring, by the way! :)

Posted by: dacasox | August 11, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

hey jiji or whatever the eff your name is. I repeat, i am not a federal employee. Sucking on teats is your job, I take it.

Posted by: Marylander4 | August 11, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Is AFGE crazy? The best thing to do now is lay low, not advertise the fact you have a job for life doing zip.

Posted by: oracle2world | August 11, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

This idea of buying $200,000 worth of radio ads to counter Gas Windbag is short sighted and very counter productive. If you think that spending our dues money on this Quixotic quest will have any real effect against the wave of anti-fed of any kind you must also think that peeing on a forest fire works too. I'll bet you that this "campaign" is going to come back and bite members of AFGE and other feds in the butt and that it'll wind up doing us more damage than good. Personally I would have liked to have seen that money be used to fight for worker rights against rogue agencies. Not a smart move Mr. Gage as a dues paying AFGE member I feel really ripped off.

Posted by: rikkirat | August 12, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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