'Let us do our job': Federal workers protest government shutdown

Paul Kurtz
January 08, 2019 - 2:44 pm
Hundreds of furloughed federal workers protested the partial government shutdown at a rally in Philadelphia.

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds of furloughed federal workers protested the partial government shutdown at a rally at Independence Mall Tuesday.

Elected officials were also in attendance, including U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Dwight Evans and Mary Gay Scanlon, and state Sen. Vincent Hughes.

Facing a second missed paycheck this Friday, many government employees are becoming increasingly anxious and frustrated as they scramble to make ends meet. 

"In a single household, it affects you a lot," said Kim Jones. "You have to pay your bills, especially if you're living paycheck to paycheck. If I don't have an income, how am I supposed to survive?" 

"Same here," said Yvette Browning. "I have children and my mother to support, so I need my job; I need my income."

Both Jones and Browning work for the IRS Service Center in West Philly. Virginia Thompson, who works for the EPA, said she and her husband have to move money around in order to plug holes. 

"College tuition was due, so we had to deal with that, and estimated taxes are due in a few days. I don't how we're gonna pay for that," she admitted. "And this is going to go on for more weeks and maybe months, and I don't know how we're gonna (pay for) mortgage or any other expenses."

The rally was led by union leaders from the American Federation of Government Employees, including Gary Morton, an EPA rep who stepped up to the microphone with his hands bound by a scarf. 

"Because right now, the American public and federal employees are being held hostage," he said. "Who's gonna pay the ransom? So let us do our job of protecting the American people. Let the people go. Let us go!"

The furloughed employees are spending a lot of their time off texting and phoning lawmakers and the White House. Many will be heading to Washington, D.C., joining thousands of others for another rally this week.