Trump just got sued by his own Border Patrol agents forced to work without pay

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The Border Patrol’s labor union just sued the Trump Administration violating minimum wage laws and some of America’s most basic labor protections dating back to the New Deal-era.

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Donald Trump’s useless government shutdown has stopped the paychecks of 800,000 workers, but the 420,000 essential government employees – like border patrol agents and TSA employees – are stuck working without paychecks.

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Now, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) has filed suit on behalf of Albert Viera seeking a collective action judgment. The Border Patrol union contends that Trump’s shutdown violates the Fair Labor Standards Act. and they’re demanding that all employees begin getting paychecks right away. The Washington Post reports:

Tuesday’s collective action alleges more than 400,000 federal employees — including tens of thousands of NTEU members — are being forced to work without pay during the partial government closure.

The complaint asked that the named plaintiff, Customs and Border Protection officer Albert Vieira, and other similarly classified individuals be paid owed wages.

If the lawsuit is successful, there’s a chance that essential federal employees will only get awarded minimum wage instead of their normal pay rate and overtime payments, until Congress passes a bill to pay their full salaries.

They are seeking 100% matching liquidated damages from the federal government in the action.

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Because the federal government has a permanent appropriation to pay court judgments, according to the NTEU’s lawyers, if they win their case, payments would begin immediately.

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The Border Patrol agents union represents federal employees in 34 other agencies and 150,000 federal employees around the country.

“These civil servants took an oath to the Constitution and they do not deserve to be treated this way,” says NTEU National President Tony Reardon who represents the Border Patrol agents, but his membership is not the only ones feeling the pain of the Trump shutdown.

Federal workers that who voted for Trump in Florida’s Hurricane Michael strike zone who are trapped in an unpaid hellscape of long distance work, according to the New York Times, who reports that even his die-hards are losing faith:

She blamed Mr. Trump for the shutdown, a point on which she disagreed with her husband and most of her colleagues. “This definitely is making me more political than I have been in the past,” Ms. Sims said…

The shutdown on top of the hurricane has caused Ms. Minton to rethink a lot of things. “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump.

“I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

Without pay, TSA is hemorrhaging experienced airport security employees as they call out sick to avoid the shackles of President’s demands for unpaid labor, leading airline pilots to call on the government to reopen to keep the skies safe.

Some households are struggling with two wage earners stuck going to work involuntarily without pay.

Government workers in Washington DC are particularly afflicted because many of them don’t earn large paychecks and the federal district’s jobs market is utterly dominated by the institutions that Trump shutdown.

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In three days, 800,000 federal workers will miss their first paycheck if Trump shutdown continues into record territory for length, possibly the only such record set by this President.

If the NTEU union prevails in their lawsuit to force the Trump Administration to pay its bills, not only will it help their membership, but a good court precedent could potentially end the unfair practice of unpaid work forever by federal employees when Republicans in Congress and the White House refuse to do their jobs.

Original reporting by Deanna Paul at the Washington Post.

Here is a copy of the Border Patrol agents union’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration:

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

Grant Stern is a columnist for the Washington Press. He's also mortgage broker, writer, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida.

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