AFL-CIO, United Way, U.S. Chamber send joint letter on government shutdown, threat of default on U.S. debt

Oct 11, 2013, 16:12 ET from United Way Worldwide

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The AFL-CIO, United Way Worldwide and U.S. Chamber of Commerce today sent a joint letter to leaders in Washington urging them to end the government shutdown and threat of a default on U.S. debt. The text of the letter follows:

To President Obama and Members of Congress:

As leaders of business, labor, and the nonprofit sector, we are writing to urge you to end the federal government shutdown immediately.

Our country is navigating the most challenging economic times in a generation.  While we may disagree on priorities for federal policies and we even have conflicting views about many issues, we are in complete agreement that the current shutdown is harmful and the risk of default is potentially catastrophic for our fragile economy.

Large and small businesses, the workforce (especially federal workers), people who rely on public and privately-funded social services, and communities at-large, are being harmed by the shutdown.  The federal government is our nation's largest consumer of goods and services, our largest employer, and the single largest source of financial support for state and local governments and for private social services.  Several hundred thousand public servants are at home without pay.   The longer the shutdown continues, the more people and communities' economic security will be damaged.  Ultimately, our economy could be driven back into a recession.

As we often have in our history, our country benefits from strong differences of opinion on many important issues affecting both federal legislation and the federal government.  We believe it is important that we turn to the normal processes our government has for resolving these issues.  We cannot afford to have either our government closed or our nation's creditworthiness called into question as part of the way we resolve these important issues.

Our three disparate sectors share a common view-- no one benefits from the current shut-down and everyone will be harmed if the government defaults.  It is in the interest of our nation that Congress  restore the normal functioning of our political process, fund the government immediately and quickly move to resolve the impasse over the debt ceiling limit.  We urge all of our leaders in Washington to set aside the many issues we disagree about, reach across the aisle and end the shutdown and the threat of a national default.


Thomas J. Donohue 
President and CEO 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce                              

Richard L. Trumka

Stacey D. Stewart
U.S. President
United Way Worldwide

About The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. @USChamber


The AFL-CIO is a democratic, voluntary federation of 57 national and international labor unions that represent 12.2 million working people. 
We are teachers and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and engineers, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, teachers, painters and plumbers—and more, including 3.2 million members of our community affiliate Working America, which represents people who do not have a union at work. We have partnerships with groups of people whose work usually does not have the protection of many labor laws and who often are mistreated on the job, including taxi workers, carwash workers in Los Angeles, guest workers, nannies, housekeepers and in-home caretakers.   @AFLCIO

About United Way

United Way is a worldwide movement of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. It advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality life. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action – to give, advocate and volunteer – to improve conditions in their local community. For more information about United Way, please visit:

Media contacts:

Blair Latoff Holmes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce,, 202-463-5682

Amaya Smith, AFL-CIO,, 202-637-5018

Amanda Ponzar, United Way,, 703-836-7112, x253

SOURCE United Way Worldwide