Another union claims government shutdown violates labor laws

A second federal employee union sued the Trump administration Jan. 7, alleging that those employees forced to work during a government shutdown are entitled to timely pay, which they are not receiving, under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The complaint was filed by the National Treasury Employees Union on behalf of Albert Vieira, a Customs and Border Protection officer stationed at the southern border, who has not been paid overtime or regular pay since the shutdown took place.

“Like many other CBP employees, Plaintiff Vieira is covered by both the FLSA and another federal pay statute: the Customs Officer Pay Reform Act, which sets his overtime rate. Plaintiff Vieira’s statutory right to the on-time payment of overtime wages earned — wages paid at the rate COPRA sets — is governed by the FLSA,” the lawsuit says.

FLSA requires that covered employees be paid on time for any minimum wage and overtime wages earned.

Some of the federal employees working during the shutdown, such as Vieira, are classified as covered under FLSA.

“It is unconscionable that many employees are having to work — and in some cases overtime — with no pay whatsoever,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon in a news release.

“NTEU will continue to fight in the courts and on Capitol Hill to end the shutdown and ensure that all employees are fairly compensated.”

NTEU becomes the second federal employee union to pursue legal recourse during the partial government shutdown, as the American Federation of Government Employees also sued the Trump administration under FLSA at the end of 2018.

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