Employees Affected by Government Shutdown Picketing in Worcester, Mass. - NECN

Employees Affected by Government Shutdown Picketing in Worcester, Mass.



    Employees affected by government shutdown picketing in Worcester, Mass.

    Close to 20 employees lined street outside Worcester's Social Security Office, holding a sign highlighting their frustrating with government (Published Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014)

    (NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - Effects of the government shutdown are already being felt, although many essential government services remain up and running, including the issuing of social security checks, normal staffing for air traffic control and border patrols, the postal service is still delivering mail and people can still apply for passports and visas.
    What is being affected: some 800,000 federal employees whose paychecks are now in jeopardy, the 1.4-million active-military personnel will continue to be paid although their checks may be delayed, mortgages backed by federal agencies cannot be processed, and virtually every national park or historic site is now closed.

    Some of those employees now on furlough are right here in Worcester, Mass.

    Close to 20 employees lined the street outside of Worcester's Social Security Office Tuesday. Each was holding a sign highlighting their frustration with the federal government shutdown. The employees spent Tuesday morning like every other, working, but this time it's different.

    “We're not getting paid,” says federal employee Sabie Salome.

    The workers are considered essential employees, forced to show up for their jobs despite the shutdown.

    “We have to report to work if we don't we eventually will be considered AWOL and risk removal,” says Patrick Quinn.

    This group from the Worcester office represents a much larger number of workers affected by the shutdown. More than 1,000 social security employees in New England are working without pay. Another 18,000 are locked out of their jobs nationwide. It's a situation that has led people like Quinn to join the picket.

    “Our office is open as far as walking through the doors but we got a list of about 30 services that we are not allowed to preform because no appropriation to do them.”

    The office sees more than 150 people a day looking for common services like replacement social security and Medicare cards. Both simple procedures are something they are unable to do at this time.

    “It's frustrating as a union rep to see we have a lot of employees who will be suffering here in ne and nationwide because of congress' inability to strike a deal,” says Richard Couture.

    The workers say while they will continue to do their jobs, they hope congress will do the same.

    “Not much we can do about it besides advising people to please call your congressman and to be out on the sidewalk letting people know what the situation is,” Quinn says.

    “We're frustrated and scared the future is uncertain and we'll have to wait and see and hope for the best- soon.”