Not ten minutes after IRS employees of the Austin Accounts Management center near I-35 and Ben White began protesting their office policies Tuesday afternoon, Homeland Security police began ordering them to leave.
The workers, represented under the National Treasury Employees Union, are upset about what they see as a double-standard in how managers are handling vacation days and late penalties when family is sick or when an employee is stuck in traffic.
“You can’t take leave to be with your dying father. You’re not taking care of him, therefore we have no obligation to let you go. They charged him AWOL,” Dorothy Pistole said, explaining a situation which she said happened to a colleague. KLBJ asked Pistole if the employees group has any fears of retaliation.
“We can use this as a marker to say, at this point, management didn’t have any problem with what the employee has done. But all the sudden now management is treating the employees differently? Then we have a point when we can start looking at a retaliation grievance.”
“It’s very important. The holiday is all about service to America. A lot of them, they were in the military. A lot of them have military families now,” Union President Ed Walker says. “They denied all of this leave before the Economic Stimulus Program came out, so if they began using that as an excuse, they would not be telling the truth.”
“We have filed grievances on behalf of hundreds of people here. Some people were able to get off [work] as the result of this and the embarrassment.”
The IRS has refused to comment on the Tuesday protest.