HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A recently passed bill by the U.S. House of Representatives gives government workers at least the possibility of back pay for the ongoing shutdown, but no such option exists for many contract workers who are being hit especially hard.
One such case involves around 30 employees at Huntsville-based Phoenix, a company that provides many of the custodial and maintenance services at a now near-empty Redstone Arsenal. Of the 30 affected custodians, seven have been completely sidelined, with 23 others working on a handful to half of their regular hours. There’s no chance of back pay, forcing workers like Amberly Moore to make difficult choices.
“I got a house payment, got a car payment,” said Moore. “It’s hard to come to work doing half a day… Sometimes you may not even get to work half a day, just depends.”
Phoenix CEO Bryan Dodson said there’s not much else he can do for the employees until the shutdown is resolved. The majority of the company’s workers are either disabled or were previously unemployed.
“Unless our employees have some personal leave built up, it’s gonna be unpaid time off,” said Dodson. “They don’t have huge savings accounts. They’re trying to get on their feet financially and economically, so it really hits them much harder than compared to somebody who’s been in a job the last 20 years and has had a chance to put a little [money] back.”