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NTEU Launches Yearlong Campaign to Change the Conversation About Federal Workers

Wednesday, February 12 2014

Washington, D.C.— The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) today launched the first phase of a yearlong public service and awareness campaign to underscore the direct connection between the work of federal employees and the quality of life in America. The new campaign will include radio and TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs), a web site, social media and a grassroots effort involving NTEU’s chapters around the nation.

“The government shutdown gave Americans a glimpse of what life would look like without federal workers,” said NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley. “The shutdown is over, but the failure of Congress to support federal employees and federal agencies continues to threaten our nation’s future.”

The federal employee union is determined to change the conversation about federal workers. “In 2014, NTEU will be relentless in talking about and showcasing the positive contributions of federal workers and asking government officials and all Americans to support them and their work,” the NTEU leader said.

“Because of federal employees, you do not have to put your money under your mattress, worry about getting your Social Security check on time or be afraid to eat your lunch,” said Kelley. “It may be politically expedient or considered humorous to verbally disrespect federal workers, but it is insidious and harmful to our national interests. It is time to stop the snark and have serious conversations.”

The campaign is centered around two 60-second video PSAs—“Without Us” and “We Protect.” Both are designed to emphasize the important, yet largely unseen, roles federal employees play in the everyday life of our country. The PSAs feature NTEU members who are frontline federal employees from a range of agencies and who provide numerous services to the public.

NTEU distributed hard copies of the PSAs to 300 TV stations and 1,000 radio stations this month and digital versions were distributed to thousands more.

The public can learn about the work of federal employees by visiting where they can view the videos, read spotlights about the work of federal employees and agencies, find social media materials to share and use an interactive map to find out how many federal employees are in their state.

“At a time when a significant amount of political paralysis has contributed to a negative image of government and government employees, these messages underscore the meaningful and positive role federal agencies and their employees play in the life of every American,” President Kelley said.

“Promoting the value and contributions of federal employees will be part of everything we do this year,” said the NTEU president. The first phase of the campaign is the launch of the PSAs supported by media events, grassroots efforts by NTEU local chapters around the country and public outreach through the Internet and social media.

Throughout the year, NTEU will unveil additional elements of the public awareness campaign.

NTEU’s annual Legislative Conference will advance the campaign with the theme, “Support Federal Workers…They Work for US.” Later this year, NTEU will launch the second phase of the campaign focused on federal careers.

“I see the work of federal employees every day,” said President Kelley, “and every day I am awed by their commitment to their work, to the public and to their country. They truly are proud Americans, pleased to have the chance to serve others in many important ways.”
NTEU local chapters are amplifying the national campaign on the local level. Every NTEU chapter will receive a kit including sample letters to the editor of their local paper, editorial and opinion articles, fliers, brochures and similar materials, including a social media component. Chapters are being encouraged to ask their local stations to air the spots.

In 2008 and 2011, NTEU distributed PSAs to media outlets, including its well-received video titled “The Oath.” In it, a range of NTEU members briefly spoke about the crux of her or his work, while employees recited—one sentence at a time—the oath of office sworn to by every federal worker. Another was titled “Who Can We Turn To,” and portrays the work of federal employees through the eyes of the Americans they serve. Those radio and TV PSAs aired 25,048 times, with 292 million audience impressions and $7.4 million in media value.

NTEU is the nation’s largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

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