HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- Friday is normally payday for federal workers. But a few hundred NASA workers at Redstone Arsenal are going to have to wait until the shutdown is over before they get paid. Workers say they’re hoping lawmakers reach a deal so they can go back to work.
“We’re very concerned about how we’re going to pay our bills. We have mortgage, tuition and utilities,” American Federation of Government Employees Union Local 1858 treasurer Marlyce Alexander said.
They, along with thousands of fellow non-essential federal workers, have been off the job for around three weeks.
“It becomes such a norm at Redstone, that they don’t get that much advanced notice at all,” Local 1858 president Abner Merriweather said. “They get maybe a day or the same day notice.”
The stalemate, now in its 3rd week, stems from president trump’s request for funding from congress for a southern border wall.
“That equates to about $84,000 a day. And about $421,000 per week that’s taken out of the economy. So it has a major impact on the employees that are shut down,” Merriweather said.
A few days after the president’s address to the nation describing the need for a more secure border, it doesn’t appear leaders on capital hill are any closer to a handshake deal.
“I advise everybody to shop in their own kitchen. Sometimes, that helps a lot. It might mean you have to dust off a bag of beans or whatever,” Alexander said.
Federal workers expect to be paid for time lost once an agreement is signed by the president. Though, they admit, for the time being, it’ll mean some belt tightening.
Right now, NASA workers who are not affected by the shutdown include those involved in space launch hardware and operations with the International Space Station.