Friday was supposed to be payday for many federal employers across the country, but their deposits didn’t come, because of the ongoing partial government shutdown.
“We’re all concerned about our families and what the future holds,” said Marlon Verasamy, the vice-steward for the union covering National Weather Service employees in the office housed inside Vermont’s Burlington International Airport.
The meteorologists are still on the job, because their forecasting work, aimed at protecting lives and property, is considered essential.
Despite that classification, no paychecks came Friday.
Verasamy, who talked to necn outside the NWS office and off government time, said staffers in Burlington are worrying about their personal household expenses—especially younger scientists with student loans and other bills.
“It’s a day-to-day struggle for us, and it’s definitely an added weight and stress to all of us on top of the work we do here,” Verasamy said.
Some 800,000 federal employees missed scheduled paychecks because of the partial government shutdown, according to the office of Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont. More than 1,300 of those employees are in Vermont, Welch’s office noted.
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“A lot of them go paycheck to paycheck,” Bruce McDonald, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director for Vermont said of many TSA agents he works with.
McDonald said he’s proud his agents at the Burlington International Airport are staying positive and focusing on their critical safety mission, but he added that he’s concerned about how long they can go.
“Money is tight—rent and things like that—they have credit card bills and holiday bills,” McDonald said. “Some of them are young married couples, so it’s a tough time for them right now.”
Congress is looking to guarantee retroactive pay for federal employees, and President Trump is expected to support those measures.
However, that money likely wouldn’t come until after the shutdown is over, and right now, no one can say when that’ll be.
“It’s very stressful,” observed Yvonne Garand, the senior vice president for marketing and business development for the Vermont credit union VSECU.
VSECU is offering low-rate $1,500 emergency loans to members who have gone without their incomes during the shutdown, Garand said.
Those members also may be eligible to skip one payment on their consumer loans through VSECU without a penalty, Garand added.
“Vermonters really are about people helping people,” Garand told necn. “Use your voice and ask for help, because there are ways you can be helped during this crisis.”
Affected workers hope the shutdown will end soon, said the NWS and TSA employees necn spoke to.