PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As the United States enters day 20 of a partial government shutdown, one day short of the record, local federal workers are really hurting missing out on nearly three weeks of pay and counting.
Donna McGowan is almost done preparing signs for Thursday’s rally. She’s the president of the South Florida chapter for the National Treasury Employees Union. She represents more than 400 employees.
“Some of them have declined to come to the rallies (Thursday) because they want to save the gas,” she said in an interview.
That’s how tight money has gotten.
When it finally ends, they hope to be compensated, but there’s no guarantee lawmakers and the president will agree to.
“Historically we have been paid but in the interim we have mortgages, rent, car payments and those things need cash today, not eventually,” she said.
She says some have filed for unemployment. Some aren’t sure when there next meal will be.
“I have heard from people who have filed for food stamps and have been denied,” she said.
Wednesday the Palm Beach County School District reminded parents about their free or reduced lunches in light of the partial shutdown.
CROS Ministries also reminding families they they offer emergency food in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
“When I think about the government shutdown, people may have been working and never have even had to come seek assistance and may not know what’s available,” said Ruth Mageria, the Executive Director of CROS Ministries in an interview.
“I absolutely feel like we’re pawns in this,” McGowan said.
As President Donald Trump and lawmakers battle over $5.7 billion for a border wall, federal employees just want to get back to work. That is why they say they are trying to gain support Thursday.
“We want to do our jobs. We want to get our paychecks, and we want to help the American public,” McGowan said.
There are three demonstrations Thursday scheduled from noon to 1p.m. :
- 7410 South US 1, Port St Lucie
- 1700 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach
- 7850 SW 6th Court, Plantation, Florida
The public is invited, particularly if you are a federal employee, regardless if you are in the IRS or not.