Payday Friday Means Nothing To Workers Impacted By Government Shutdown

Jan 11, 2019
Originally published on January 11, 2019 6:47 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For many people, of course, Friday means pay day. But not for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are impacted by this partial government shutdown.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Right. So this will be the first paycheck they miss since the shutdown went into effect. We wanted to understand the impact of all of this on these workers, so we called them up. And here are a few of their voices.

GREENE: Yeah. Let's start with Robert. And we're only identifying him by his first name because he works in the security industry.

ROBERT: I'm currently working because I'm essential personnel, but not getting paid. Since I work every day - you know, mandatory that I have to come to work every day - I can't seek other employment or other ways of making any money. And so I've already deferred my car loans. I've contacted my landlord. They let me slide till next month to pay rent. My cellphone that I'm talking on, they said I didn't have to pay until next month. And so it's just - just to be blunt, it's very stressful. But I still go to work every day.

LISA HONAN: My name is Lisa Honan (ph). At first, honestly, you don't really feel it until that first paycheck doesn't come through, and we know that we're not going to be getting paid tomorrow. And we have some friends and family offer to help out. But we're going to probably withdraw on our 529 account for - I hate to say it. It's our, you know, funds for college that you put away for your kids. We were talking about maybe making a withdrawal on that.

MARTIN: And here's air traffic controller Melissa Hempson. She's a single mom working in the Washington, D.C., region.

MELISSA HEMPSON: My ex-husband passed away a year ago, and it's just me trying to make ends meet. So I don't - you know, I have family to rely on a bit. But it's stressful. And it's not something I need right now. Handling the busiest airspace in the world, you know? I'm - it makes people feel resentful to have to - I'm working Air Force One. I'm not getting paid. I know his Secret Service isn't getting paid. I know he's flying down the border. The TSA isn't getting paid. I know that the people on that airplane are getting paid. You know? That makes you think, like, what's the problem? Why is my paycheck being withheld?

GREENE: The voices of some of the federal workers who are struggling through this partial shutdown, which has now tied for the longest government shutdown ever.

MARTIN: And we don't know how long these government workers are going to have to live with all this uncertainty. Talks between Congress and the White House are at a standstill. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.