Federal employees will gather Wednesday for a "Rally to End the Shutdown" at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Wednesday marks day 26 of furloughs. The possibility of another missed paycheck has government employees on edge and seeking action to end the partial shutdown.
"We’re being held hostage to what is going on," said Lisa Schaub, an Environmental Protection Agency employee. Schaub and her husband both work for the EPA; both are not working or getting paid. "There seems to be more concern over building a wall than the 800,000 federal workers and their families," she said.
Schaub, a mother of two, says their family has saved and prepared for the possibility of a government shutdown, but she knows other families are not as fortunate. Along with working as a life scientist at the EPA, Schaub is also the AFGE EPA Union President. The last few weeks she has been searching for resources and food pantries her colleagues can use.
"Many of us have doctorates and master’s degrees and we’re having to wonder if we’ll have money to pay our bills to have food on the table," Schaub said. "It is also hard to know what to tell your children. It is concerning for us, but we are not forced to go into work. There are others who have to work, and not only are they not getting paid, they also have calculate the expense of getting to work and other things like daycare."
She will be among dozens of others expected to protest the shutdown and march in support of employees under the Transportation Security Administration.
In Fort Worth, staff under the Federal Bureau of Prisons are furloughed but forced to work.
“Some staff have been asked to work double shifts,” said Gregory Watts, AFGE Local Federal Bureau of Prisons Union President. “Its really affecting staff with children. They can’t pay their daycare, they they’re trying to figure out do they stay home or do they go to work. We are also trying to organize a food bank for some of the staff.”
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Watts has been working with the Fort Worth Medical Center Federal Prison for 26-years.
“I served in the United States Marine Corps. I have worked here for more than 25 years and all my years with the Department of Justice I never thought that I would be in this situation. What really bothers me is that we have employees that we hired a month ago, and they have not received one pay check,” Watts said
“We have staff members calling us daily asking us, ‘What do we do? How do we get to work?’ We are putting together gas cards for our employees to try and help the people that are less fortunate,” said Robert Warner, AFGE Local Federal Bureau of Prisons Union Vice President. “I have been here for 29 years and in those 29 years I have done two different other shutdowns, and this would be the third, and I know that it will end eventually. The problem is, the impact that it’s going to have on our families, on our credit scores, on the economy, and on the communities of North Texas.”
The "Rally to End the Shutdown" will take place at Terminal D30 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.