The rally is being organized by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents about 10,000 workers in Philadelphia, including Transportation Security Administration agents, Department of Housing and Urban Development employees, and correctional officers, and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), representing more than 5,000 employees locally. Since the shutdown began on Dec. 22 in a dispute over President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, thousands of federal workers have either been furloughed or are working without pay.
The protest precedes another planned by the federal unions for Thursday morning in Washington outside AFL-CIO headquarters. Union members are circulating information about the protests on Facebook. NTEU plans to take local members to the D.C. protest by bus.
Union leaders say they aren’t sure how many to expect at the Philly protest, in part because some might not be able to afford to come. Phil Glover, president of the AFGE district covering Pennsylvania and Delaware, says some politicians, including Reps. Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans, both Democrats, are expected to attend.
With more than 45,000 federal employees in the Philadelphia metro area, the region has one of the largest concentrations of government workers outside of the Washington area.