Federal employees relieved, grateful for community support

The officers say there was a collective sigh of relief when news broke the government was going to be reopened. They are among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees that will get back pay but those checks won't come right away.

Posted: Jan 26, 2019 8:59 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2019 2:51 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The longest federal government shutdown in United States history has ended but the debate over border security continues. It means another shutdown could be ahead.

Friday, President Donald Trump agreed to reopen the government for the next three weeks. That's as 800,000 federal employees missed their second paycheck.

President Trump is still calling for funds to build a wall along the border with Mexico. If he does not get the funding he wants in that time it could mean another shutdown.

News 10’s Heather Good spoke with two correctional officers Saturday afternoon. They work at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute.

The officers say there was a collective sigh of relief when news broke the government was going to be reopened. They are among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees that will get back pay but those checks won't come right away.

Employees say it could be another week or so before they get a paycheck, and even then, they have to prepare for another potential shutdown.

AFGE Local 720 Treasurer Steve Markle says, "There's no celebration because we all know in 21 days we could be right back in this same situation asking for people to understand what it’s like to go to work every single day as essential law enforcement officers and just not knowing when you're going to get paid for it.”

Correctional Officer and AFGE Local 720 President Kenny Swick says, "This could continue on and the financial resources people have available keeps dwindling."

Despite all this, the federal officers say they are grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support they've seen the last month.

For the meals, the gas cards, or for simply understanding what they were going through, these officers say "thank you."

Swick says, "Very thankful of the community's support. I don't know too many areas in the country that would have the type of support we have here."

Markle says, "We've had several restaurants, too many to mention without forgetting somebody, that have reached out and have actually brought food in for people on shift so people have not had to worry about that. The support has just been amazing."

Federal workers are asking for continued understanding and support because another shutdown could still happen next month.

They ask that you contact your elected leaders to tell them to get to work.

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