Arnold Scott, a national vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees, showed up Thursday to protest along with furloughed Grissom employees. He said the government shutdown is hurting people who only want to work and provide for their families.
“I just think it’s a shame,” he said. “These federal workers have nothing to do with the squabble that’s going on in Congress. I think it’s wrong for Congress to politicize these workers.”
Smith agreed. “Don’t use us as pawns. We’re not pawns, we’re people. We do a service to this country, as do many other federal workers.”
He said the forced lockout from the base especially hurts considering civilian employees are already required to take 11 furlough days from July to September this year because of federal budget cuts called sequestration.
That takes up to around 20 percent of workers’ paychecks during the furlough period.
With the prospect of possibly not receiving a paycheck for weeks as the congressional fight over spending wages on, Air Reserve technician Derrek Dimenco, 26, said he’s looking for a second job to help pay the bills.
“My bank account only stretches so much,” he said.
Dimenco said if he could have a talk with Congress, he would tell them this: “If you’re not going to pay us, then I’m staying at your place when I lose my house. I’m gonna knock on your door and ask for a place to sleep and something to eat.”
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.