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Southeast Texas Federal Workers say they're Fed up with the Federal Government
BEAUMONT-BY: Leslie Rangel
It's day 14 of the government shutdown.
You may not think it's affecting your life, but a number of federal workers in Southeast Texas say it's harming them.
A group of federal prison workers who say they're fed up with the federal government.
No lock-out, no shut down is just one of the messages federal workers in Southeast Texas want Congress to hear loud and clear.
"At the federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, there are approximately 950 staff, 6,00 inmates. Staff aren't getting paid but they're still going to work everyday keeping us safe in this community," Anthony Simon, president of AFG local 1010 federal prison union says.
Simon is tired of the gridlock.
"All the federal employees at the federal prisons across the country are working, we're just not getting paid," Simon says.
The prison workers protesting say until Monday, they hadn't seen a paycheck in two weeks. The one they just received amounts to only $400 for 6 days.
"I got to scrintch my pennies like everybody else," Simon said.
"We don't want the lights cut off, I have a 6-year-old daughter I have to be able to take care of the things we need on a day to day basis," Clifton Buchanan, Vice President of the South Central Regional Council of Prison Locals said.
Federal workers say many of the people are not alone.
They say husbands and wives often work together meaning both aren't getting paychecks.
"Now you're playing with people's lives, livelihood, our kids life, our spouses, this impacts the whole community," Simon said.
Other workers from the U.S. Department of Labor came out to support the prison employees.
Their story is different. If they work during the shutdown, they risk losing their jobs.
"The majority of people in the U.S. Department of Labor are being told do not work, we don't know if we're going to pay you and if you even open your email we can even fire you or prosecute you under the anti-deficiency act," Jeff Darby, local 2139 President and Texas AFL-CIO vice president for AFGE says.
Both agree on one thing, that Washington is responsible.
"When we sit down with management, we don't have the luxury of shutting down the job. We have to make tough decisions and continue to work," Buchanan says.
A choice they say would be easier if the politicians can agree and end the shutdown.
Employees say they're already living paycheck to paycheck because they haven't received a raise in four years.
Congress and the President are still receiving paychecks during the government shutdown.