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GOP shutdown tactics will cause “involuntary servitude,” union says

Hours before a looming government shutdown, the president of the country’s largest federal employee union accused House Republicans of forcing “involuntary servitude,” urged President Obama not to “bargain with hostage-takers,” and pledged to oppose any deal with further cuts to federal workers’ compensation.

American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox told Salon Monday afternoon that it was “immoral” and “unconscionable” for House Republicans to try to “close the government down and punish everybody in this country” because they “don’t want 48 million people to have the opportunity to purchase health insurance.”

“The House of Representatives is choosing to lock out a number of its employees from providing services to the American people,” charged Cox. Noting that perhaps half of AFGE’s membership deemed “essential” staff would continue working without the guarantee of getting paid, Cox said, “I am certainly not an expert in the law, but under the Constitution I do believe involuntary servitude is not allowed.”

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