MINNEAPOLIS - Members of a government employees union took to a Twin Cities bridge to display their disgust with the federal government shutdown.
District 8 of the American Federation of Government Employees organized Tuesday's protest.
Many of the workers holding signs on the 34th Avenue Bridge over Crosstown Highway 62 were employed at the nearby U.S. Air Force Reserve station. They were a handful of the estimated 19,000 Minnesota federal employees affected by the indefinite job furloughs.
"I showed up for work at 6 o'clock and was given notification that we were done until further notice," said Dusty Hawkins, electrician from Chanhassan. "They said they would pay us for the four hours we did today sometime in the future, but we have already been furloughed six days (this year), had our pay frozen for three years and now this indefinite furlough. It has taken a real toll on the families. People do not know how they are going to pay their bills."
Tom Koehler, of Eagan, recently moved to Minnesota. He says being out of work is tough to handle.
"It is just frustrating. I have been working for the federal government for 24 years and these last couple of years have just been terrible. I mean there is no security in it anymore."
Guam native and 11-year Army veteran Dan Delgado of Rosemount says it is hitting his family hard.
"I feel myself that (politicians) should not be using the government employees to try to get their way. I think we have suffered enough and like the majority of the employees here, we are living day-to-day, paycheck-to-paycheck and it is about time to quit and stop and actually get together."
In St. Paul, John Anfinson, the acting Director of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, handed out 30 furlough notices to his staff Tuesday, including his own.
"In the staff meeting we had this morning," said Anfinson, "one (worker) actually mentioned 'How am I going to pay my rent'? We have two women on maternity leave right now that we have to get a hold of and get their agreement on this furlough."
Anfinson and a few other employees finished up as much work as they could and shut the Kellogg Square office, not knowing when they might return.
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