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How Can We Help Congress Have a Better Perception of Federal Employees?

Each week, GovLoop teams up with the Washington Post to ask a "Federal Worker Question."  This week's question is:

How can we help Congress to have a better perception of Federal employees?

It seems that public servants are the easiest target in legislators' attempts to build a better budget. But it's starting to feel a bit unfair, if not downright ludicrous. Here's one suggestion from Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson:

Perhaps federal employees should wear a big red suit with a thick black belt and a funny looking red hat. A flowing white beard, natural or fake, would set the uniform off just right.

News this week won’t make federal workers jolly, but why not dress them like Santa Claus if current and future staffers are asked — make that required — to give like Saint Nick at Christmas?

Short of that sort of option, what are your constructive ideas?

Tags: Federal Buzz, Washington Post

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Well, they are sort of Federal employees themselves, so we shouldn't have to justify ourselves to them.  However, the Partnership for Public Service has the right perspective on this issue.  By working with them to trumpet our successes, through programs like the Service to America Awards, we can educate new lawmakers about the many accomplishments of everyday government employees.  Let's invite them to recognize Federal employees in their districts who have achieved worthy accomplishments.  Let them know that Feds are doing the best they can to fulfill the missions and mandates of their agencies.  We need to elevate the conversation and learn from our military brethren, who have certainly gained the respect of the Congress. 

Great idea. How many lawmakers attend the Sammies and how can we increase that number?

Is there any sort of lobbying arm for feds? I know each branch has a legislative  affairs department, but who lobbies Congress on behalf of federal workers? Or city and state government workers? 

NARA and AFGE have active lobbying arms at least for the federal work force

The problems with unions representing Federal employees are:

  1. They only truly represent a minority of employees.
  2. There is an anti-union bias among many Congressional members.
  3. Unions mostly complain, but don't highlight achievements.

However, we have a great advocate in the Partnership for Public Service.  They could certainly lobby on our behalf and share success stories in a positive light.  They are also respected on Capital Hill and truly seek to represent all Federal employees.  We are all fortunate to have them as advocates on our behalf.  They also sponsor eventa liike Public Service Recognition Week, SAMMIE awards, and publish the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report.

The Federal Managers Association lobbies Congress on behalf of and represents all of the Federal Government.

What are some of the specific things that FMA says / does on the Hill to improve perception? Got an example of testimony?

FEW - Federally Employed Women also represent Feds to Congress. It's not a Union and they represent women in all agencies.

What are some of the specific things that FEW says / does on the Hill to improve perception? Got an example of testimony?

Federally Employed Women (FEW) and National Active and Retired Federal Employees Aaaociation (NARFE)lobbies for federeal employees. There are military associations that lobby for federal and state employees.


Yes. Go to, NARFE is the National Active and Retired Federal Employee Association. it is nationwide with chapters in many areas of every state. I urge you to join. The HQ is in DC. Narfe lobbies Congress to protect your federal pay and benefits. Narfe has been doing this activity since 1921 and has influenced many laws affecting the feds. NARFE sends out alerts whenever there is some congressional action pending affect federal employees. NARFE  uses another website called, to allow members to send letters to their congressfolk. If you belong to a chapter there usually is one meeting per month. Members also receive a well done monthly magazine that discusses and explains many questions federal employees have. The magazine alone is worth joining. NARFE 's strength in terms of lobbying congress is the strength of its membership. The more members the stronger the impact on the politicians who keep track of such things. NARFE partners with other city or state gov employee organizations in lobbying local legislatures at the state level also. Join NARFE, IT IS A WIN WIN for all employees.


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