What to Know
- A couple dozen furloughed federal workers gathered in lower Manhattan Thursday to protest the government shutdown
- The are demanding the government to reopen and for them to no longer be used as a bargaining chip in a political tug-of-war
- Chanting “We want to work” while holding up signs demanding the government to reopen, the workers rallied outside a federal building
A couple dozen furloughed federal workers gathered in lower Manhattan Thursday to protest the government shutdown that has impacted their pay demanding they stop being used as bargaining chips in a political tug-of-war.
Chanting “We want to work” while holding up signs demanding the government to reopen, the workers from the IRS, EPS, FBI and immigration departments rallied outside a federal building.
The workers, who are not getting paid since the government shutdown, now into day 20, do not know how long they will be out of work and face the financial pressure.
“I want the people that are in charge to understand we are here to protect public health and we want to work. It was not our decision to be out of work. We need our money. We have bills to pay," Stephanie Sessoms-Midgett, a federal worker, said.
Sessoms-Midgett, who is a mother of two, called reopening the government, “the responsible thing to do,” saying that although she has “a little savings,” that money is not going to last forever.
‘It’s not fair I have to use that when I have a job that I’m supposed to go to every day in order to pay my bills,” she said.
Sessoms-Midgett said she can only go on like this a couple more weeks before she is forced to get another job.
Yocasta DeJesus, an EPA project manager, said her husband was recently laid off and now her family has no income as they raise two children in Jersey City.
"Right now, we're spending only on food, whatever bills we can pay," she said.
DeJesus explained to her children that "Mommy is in a shutdown" and tried to explain what it was so they could understand.
She was angered when she watched Trump tell NBC News about the furloughed government workers, "They'll make adjustments."
"I don't understand what kind of adjustment he was referring to," she said. "How can you adjust when you don't have any money to pay bills for food? What kind of adjustment you going to do?"
Although some of the impacted workers decided to file for unemployment, it’s not quick fix because it takes time for processing. Additionally, other complications can arise — like giving back the unemployment money the received once they return back to work.
So, with no telling how long the shutdown will last, some federal workers in the tri-state say they're considering temporary jobs, like driving for Uber or even babysitting.