In a recent development, hundreds of federal government employees in the United States are reportedly planning a walkout to protest U.S. support for Israel in its war against Hamas.
This controversial move has ignited strong reactions from various quarters, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, who criticized the employees’ actions and called for their termination.
Federal employees plan walkout over U.S. Israel policy
According to reports, hundreds of federal government employees are planning a walkout in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s actions in the ongoing conflict with Hamas.
This walkout is expected to involve workers from 22 different government agencies, including the National Security Agency, the Executive Office of the President, and various departments such as State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.
This protest has raised concerns as it could be considered a strike, which is prohibited by law.
Legal provisions prohibit strikes by federal employees
Title 5 Section 7311 of the U.S. Code clearly states that an individual may not accept or hold a position in the U.S. government if they participate in a strike against the government.
Title 18 Section 1918 prescribes the punishment for such an action, which includes fines and imprisonment.
These legal provisions highlight the seriousness of engaging in strikes as federal employees.
Historical context: Air traffic controllers’ strike
Notably, a major strike by federal employees occurred more than four decades ago when approximately 13,000 air traffic controllers participated in a strike over pay and work schedules.
President Ronald Reagan responded by declaring the strike a “peril to national safety,” leading to the termination of 11,000 workers who were subsequently barred from working in the federal government.
The walkout is being organized by a group known as “Feds United for Peace,” although the organizers have chosen to remain anonymous.
Federal employees plan a day of mourning for Gaza
Their initiative stems from a collective desire to influence the Biden administration’s policy regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
They see this protest as a unique form of dissent manifested through a physical act. The organizers assert that their objective is to observe a “day of mourning” marking 100 days of Israel’s operations in Gaza.
The Israel-Hamas conflict has garnered international attention and controversy.
South Africa accuses Israel of genocide at International Court
South Africa, for instance, has accused Israel of committing state-led genocide against Palestinians and has presented its case at the International Court of Justice, citing nearly 24,000 deaths as a result of the offensive.
In response, Israel’s spokesperson called these claims hypocritical and baseless, arguing that Hamas terrorists have targeted Israeli citizens.
This recent walkout isn’t the first time federal employees have been embroiled in controversy over the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Federal employees’ walkout, open Letter spark controversy in Israel-Hamas conflict
In November 2023, Sen. Marco Rubio raised concerns about reports that over 500 federal employees signed an open letter asking President Biden to demand a ceasefire.
Rubio argued that such a demand could benefit Hamas and urged a full investigation into the matter.
The planned walkout by federal government employees to protest U.S. support for Israel in the Israel-Hamas conflict has stirred controversy and legal discussions.
Legal risks in federal employees’ protest against U.S. foreign policy
While the organizers aim to influence U.S. policy, their actions may have legal consequences.
This situation highlights the complex dynamics surrounding international conflicts and the involvement of federal employees in expressing their dissent.