SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Federal workers at Sunny Point formed a picket line at the ammunition depot’s main entrance today. For these members of the American Federation of Government Workers, it’s their way of protesting a government shutdown that could send them home to wait for paychecks.
“Right now if we don’t get paid, I don’t pay rent, lights, anything, so I’m stuck,” worker Shiril Brown, a member of the American Federation of Government Employees, said.
With the federal government officially shutdown, employees at the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point are showing their frustration.
“You are playing with small people’s lives who are not up there playing politics with you and not getting six to eight figures,” Brown said.
Brown is a civilian government employee. She has already experienced a previous pay freeze and has lived through furloughs. Brown reported to work Tuesday, but does not know when or if she will get paid this week.
“If I don’t come and I am supposed to report, I get fired automatically,” she said. “Then I am out of a job and still can’t feed my family, and I can’t take my slip to the unemployment office, because they are closed.”
She is not alone.
Karen timko spent several years serving in the military before she left on disability. She says she and her family depend on their government income.
“I love my job,” Timko said. “I love coming to work. It’s a shame that Congress can’t work this out, because what we do here is unique, and it’s important.”
Both women say they want the Obama administration to keep its promise and not negotiate with members of Congress they say are holding their wages hostage.
Sunny Point employees say they will continue to picket every day, all week long, and as long as their jobs are in jeopardy.
Impacts are felt at the state level, too, including the Department of Transportation. The NCDOT says 22 employees woke up this morning without a job because their positions are federally funded.