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Finding Her Voice: Government Shutdown Turns Census Bureau Employee into Federal Worker Advocate

AFGE member Natasha Rozier stresses importance of government work in latest AFGE Documentary

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When Congress shut down the federal government in a funding dispute in October 2013, many federal employees took to the streets to protest being locked out of their jobs. Census Bureau employee Natasha Rozier took to the airwaves.

A proud member of the American Federation of Government Employees, Natasha spoke to reporters on behalf of hundreds of thousands of federal employees across the country who were suddenly out of work, living without a paycheck, and unable to do the jobs they were hired to perform.

"It became really personal for me to be able to get out and share my story about how that would impact my family – not being able to go to work, not knowing if we were going to get retro(active) pay or not," says Natasha, a member of AFGE Local 2782 in Suitland, Md. "Each interview, it became more exciting to me to get out there and let my voice be heard."

Natasha shares her story in the latest documentary produced by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Natasha and more than 4,000 other bargaining unit employees throughout the Census Bureau. The documentary series is part of AFGE's year-long campaign, "I Am AFGE," to increase the public's awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them every day.

"The data collected by the Census Bureau impacts everything from school construction and public health funding to congressional representation in Congress," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "When these employees were locked out of their jobs, they were unable to perform their research and analysis – delaying decisions that have real-world consequences in local communities across the country."

During the 16-day shutdown, Natasha spoke to local and national news outlets on behalf of AFGE and participated in AFGE rallies held to raise public awareness about the shutdown and its impact on government employees and citizens.

Like many federal agencies, the work performed by the Census Bureau has a ripple effect on state and local communities, Natasha says.

"The information that we collect is very vital because other state and local governments, even non-profit agencies use our information and they depend on it to help them in their jobs," she says.

Natasha's story is one of 15 short-form documentaries being released by AFGE every three weeks through the end of the year, highlighting individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country.

All of the videos are being posted online and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also is being promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.

"The only good that came out of the government shutdown was that the public renewed their appreciation for government employees and the work that they do," President Cox said. "Government employees have dedicated their careers to serving the public. This campaign is our way of thanking them for their service and reminding Americans of the valuable work they do."

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Federation of Government Employees has launched a year-long campaign to raise the public's awareness and appreciation of federal employees. The campaign kicks off with a new video highlighting the important services federal employees deliver and explaining how they have much in common with the citizens they are sworn to serve. Fifteen other videos will roll out during the year featuring real federal workers. The videos and additional information are available at www.afge.org/IAm.


AFGE logo.


Video - http://youtu.be/uHTFr60RPfc 
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140319/DC86787LOGO 
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131120/MM21150LOGO

SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees

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