My name is Deanna Sanchez and I am 41 years old. I am employed as a Munitions Handler/material handler at the Yakima Training Center. I was a member of the National Guard for six years and spent one year deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of operation Enduring Freedom and my country. My husband has been a member of the US Army for over 17 years.
I am writing to address the recent attacks on federal employee’s character, benefits, pay and retirement. I have completed my military duty and have entered federal service for the Department of the Army as a federal employee to continue my support of the military. In my short times as a civilian career, I have experienced the attacks that has come upon federal employees through threats of eliminating benefits, freezing our pay, reducing our rights through collective bargaining, reductions in force and indefinite furloughs.
I have spent the past two years as a material handler in a Troop Issue Substance Agency, where three of us are responsible for all the warehouse operations for providing food to military units training and preparing for deployment. In an 18-month period, we support over 35,000 military members. We are held accountable for quality, security and accuracy of unit accounts and the food products consumed by our fighting force. We are understaffed, yet through our commitment to our military, we find a way to make sure our Units do not go hungry. We are neither lazy, nor wasteful, though this is the general characteristic being sold to the public about federal employees. And this is one of the justifications being used to reduce or eliminate our benefits. We work hard for our pay. We work hard for our benefits. We work hard for our military.
Our standard of work is high; our training to do our job is much higher. We must know as much as any person in the private sector as well as how our military runs to be able to coordinate with them, and in most cases, assist in training them according to their standards. Federal employees give much of themselves to ensure the soldiers we are training and supporting have every possible tool they need to complete their mission and come home safe. Now Congress wants us to give our livelihood, our retirement security, our jobs, and our rights.
Please, in support of our Nation, in support of those who support our military, and in support of those who will take our place when we retire, help us retain our rights to fair bargaining in our employment; pay us fairly and in line without private sector counterparts; ensure our security for retirement; and provide us the tools and manpower to support our military in the manner they deserve.
I invite you to come see the hard work and work load we have and the invaluable service we provide to our military in their preparations for deployment to combat the next time you are in Yakima, Washington.