Federal Workers Hold Another Rally: 'Our Bills Are Not Shut Down'

Steve Miller
January 24, 2019 - 4:04 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

Categories: 

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Federal workers -- most of them furloughed – on Thursday held their latest demonstration at Federal Plaza.

The demonstrations have been once a week.

Federal workers like Sam Kitchen, a prison guard here in Chicago, talked about the hazards of his job.

"Any of us could be taken hostage or we could be murdered,” he said.

Kitchen is also president of the union that includes federal prison guards.

"Where we work, that's just a fact of life when we walk through those doors. But it's also a fact of life that we would like to receive a paycheck for putting our lives on the line - and then be able to go home and support our families.

"And we should not have to  do that with a box from the food bank."

As this week ends, furloughed federal workers will have missed two paychecks.

"Although the government is shut down, our bills are not shut down, and it's not fair that we're not getting paid," says Lorie McCann, president of the union that represents IRS workers.

"We are dedicated federal employees. We are hurting."

Reporters asked furloughed workers about statements by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, that he didn't understand why federal workers would go to a food pantry. Ross suggested they should take out loans.

"That sounds ridiculous to me," says Linda Morgan, who has worked for the EPA for almost 32 years.