With no clear answer as to when federal workers can expect their next paycheck, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is taking action and considering giving those impacted state benefits.
Jeffery Davis, of Malden, is one worker who is affected by the partial government shutdown. The father of three has been a federal air traffic controller for nearly a decade. He is now in his fourth week working without pay.
“It’s scary and so unpredictable,” Davis said. “I have to worry about things like what if I can’t make my car payments? And how am I going to pay for gas to get to work?”
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Those concerns are part of the reason why Davis is one of many federal employees across the country seeking donations online to try and support their families. He has raised over $2,000 on his GoFundMe and plans to share it with other air traffic controllers.
“It’s not just me who needs help, it’s everyone. All employees in the government are affected by this are going to need assistance if this keeps going on,” Davis said.
The need to help federal workers and their families are why Baker is looking into what the state can do to ease the burden. He is asking the legislature to see if they can offer unemployment benefits to those affected. He also had strong words for those in Washington Tuesday.
“In this particular case, I think everybody in D.C. has forgotten who they work for and that’s the people of the United States of America,” Baker said.
The governor said the legislature still has some homework to do to try and figure out how exactly the state could give benefits to workers like Davis.
Davis said he is in favor of any support the state can offer to workers like him.
“I think that would be great because at least they would be able to pay bills and keep their houses,” Davis said.
For now, Davis is brushing up on his graphic design skills and considering driving for Uber to earn some extra cash. Being an employee essential to public safety, he still has to go to work, but he cannot help but wonder how long he will be able to without getting paid.
“It doesn’t just affect us. It affects our whole family. It affects safety. It affects the economy,” Davis said. “Hopefully it will all end soon.”