A coalition of public sector unions and other groups has put out a 12-page guide on how to celebrate government workers during Public Service Recognition Week, which lasts from May 4 to May 10.
Government workers will already be praised by Obama administration Cabinet officials in Washington on Thursday. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta and others will speak about "the value of government service and the dedicated men and women who deliver that value on behalf of the American people every day."
The Obama administration is celebrating government workers this week. What are your plans? (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
But the Public Employees Roundtable, a coalition of public sector unions and other groups "working to promote public service recognition and careers," suggested several others steps that can be taken to praise government workers. The group has launched a website, PublicServiceRecognitionWeek.org, which includes a detailed guide explaining how to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW).
"Many of the ideas are simple, fun and inexpensive," the guide says. "Others require more coordination, planning and preparation. Whatever you do, it's a step toward public servants recieving [sic] the respect and appreciation they deserve."
The guide encourages people to help "connect and educate citizens nationwide to the work of their government." It says the goal of this week is to connect people to their government, improve the morale of federal workers, and "help inspire a new generation of public servants."
The goals of the week, according to the guide, are to get people to realize the "important work" government workers do, that public employees "deserve thanks for working diligently on our behalf," and that "government service is public service."
The guide suggests having high school teachers talk about the importance of government workers, and it says the Public Employees Roundtable has created a booklet explaining how this can be done.
"The free booklet contains unique and interactive learning projects, games and discussion ideas to get students thinking and talking about the role and process of government and the responsibilities inherent in citizenship," the guide says.
Creating an exhibit within a government agency is another way to celebrate government workers. "Use interactive and informative display," the guide suggests. "These can include fire trucks, police cars, the canine corps or large scale models. It’s a good idea to also involve agency choirs and bands who can be a crowd-pleaser and attract visitors to the event."
The guide says people should also consider handing out awards or proclamations for government employees who have "served a distinguished career in public service," and those who volunteer their time.
And, it suggests asking businesses to donate gifts or prizes for government workers or offering discounts, and asking museums and zoos to offer free admission to government workers and their families.
Other ways to appreciate government workers, according to the guide, are creating online "thank you" cards, presenting employees with a certificate of gratitude, and holding an appreciation breakfast, picnic or ice cream social.
The federal government employed 4.3 million people in 2012. Most of those — 2.7 million — worked in the federal civil service, while 1.5 million were part of the military. Another 64,000 work in the legislative and judicial branches of government.
Obama's cabinet wrote a letter to honor government workers earlier this week that says people working in government have "answered a call to serve our country," and should be thanked.
"Most Americans probably will never know the air traffic controllers who safely guide their airplane's takeoff and landing, or the food inspectors who test fresh fruits and meats for harmful bacteria," they wrote. "Throughout the week of May 4-10, we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week to publicly honor all the men and women who dedicate their careers — and sometimes their lives — to keep others safe and provide the common needs of our society."