NEW YORK (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th January, 2019) Many federal employees are seeking out second jobs to make ends meet after employers stopped paying them salaries because of the ongoing US federal government shutdown, American Federation of Government Employees 2nd District National Vice President Vincent Castellano told Sputnik at a rally in New York.
Tuesday marked day 25 of the longest federal government shutdown in US history amid a political stalemate over border security funding. About 800,000 federal workers have either been sent home or forced to work without pay since the shutdown began on December 22.
For example, Castellano added, Transport Security Administration (TSA) workers receive a median salary of $35,000 or less. As opposed to working without pay they are forced to call in sick to find another job.
Castellano's organization in conjunction with civil rights groups - and others affected by the shutdown - organized the rally to call on US President Donald Trump and Congress to take action to reopen the federal government.
"This fight between the president and the Democrats is being paid for by the financial stability of federal workers, and it is not fair," US Citizenship and Immigration Services employee participating in the rally told Sputnik. "Government employees work hard, they take pride in their work, they feel like they make a contribution to their country and they should be repaid for it."
Some of the participants expressed frustration with Trump's intention to spend at least $5.7 billion, which he demands from US Congress to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, while federal workers are challenged to provide for their families.
"We have millions of children, millions of workers, obviously, single mothers, single fathers who are being hijacked, held hostage by this president," National Action Network Minister Stephen Marshall said. "How can you say you want to build a wall when you are tearing down the walls of families of all those who are facing foreclosure and eviction because of your childish insecurities?"
Another protester holding a placard that read "We need work, not a wall! End the shutdown now" shared that he went out on the streets in support of his brother who works for the government and has been furloughed due to the shutdown.
The protesters gathered in in the Civic Center district of Manhattan and circled around the Jacob K Javits Federal Bureau Building, which houses many federal government offices, including those of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration.
Participants called on lawmakers from both the Democratic and the Republican parties to pass a federal funding bill which would provide salaries for federal workers.
Democrats in Congress have refused to meet Trump's demand for money to build the wall, and the president has refused to pass any funding legislation that does not provide funds for the barrier. The impasse
As of Tuesday, the government has been partially closed for 25 days, making it the longest shutdown in US history. About 800,000 federal workers have either been sent home or forced to work without pay since the shutdown began on December 22.