SeaTac, Wash. -- Federal employees from the SeaTac area gathered to rally against the government shutdown and make their voices and their stories heard Saturday.
This is day 22 of the partial shutdown, making it the longest in U.S. history.
“When we’re not getting paid for the risky job that we do, we can’t stay silent,” said Angela Tucker, who helped organize the event comprised mostly of employees from the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac and air traffic control.
Officer Steven Bragg joined his fellow co-workers after a long shift saying, “We understand the walls important and everything, but the families are too.”
These united voices want to spread their message not just to the government, but also to their fellow community members who may not fully understand the impact this is having on them.
“I don’t think people understand or realize that we’re in your community," Tucker said. "We’re right here and we’re suffering.”
“We’re at the point where we’re trying to support our fellow employees and coming together as co-workers to say, 'hey, here’s five dollars, here’s ten dollars, enough for you to put gas in your car, for you to be able to come into work because if not, we’re stuck working double shifts,'" said Art Alanizinb, local 1102 union president.
On Friday, the House approved back pay for federal employees currently going without paychecks. But that doesn’t go into effect until after the government shutdown ends. The promise of payment brings little comfort for those forced to go without it until political parties can come into agreement.
“We don’t know what’s going on going forward. We have no idea when it’s going to end, if it’s going to end," Alanizinb said.
But in the meantime, these workers show up and do their jobs while waiting for their government to do the same.
“Professionalism comes first. We know we’ll get paid. It’s going to be retroactive, but we have a job to do," officer Brag said.