(WASHINGTON) Teamsters, unions that represent federal workers and their allies participated in a protest at the U.S. Capitol earlier today. The action was done to show solidarity with federal workers who are either furloughed or working without pay due to the government shutdown which began December 22, 2018.
The protesters, a crowd that included many federal workers who are going without pay, occupied the atrium of Hart Senate Office Building for a 33-minute silent demonstration—one minute for every day the government has been closed since a congressional budget deadline expired in December of last year. After the 33 minutes of silence ended, workers joined together in chanting “No more food banks! Feds need paychecks!”
More than 800,000 workers have been forced to go without pay since the government shutdown, and many more have been cut off from the important services that the workers provide. The protest is the most recent of many that have taken place in our nation’s capital demanding that the shutdown, the longest in American history, be ended as soon as possible.
Last week General President James P. Hoffa joined a labor coalition in demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-KY] hold a vote on a funding bill approved by the House earlier this month that would fully reopen the government and provide back pay for both federal employees and contractors.
“800,000 people are not getting a paycheck, some they say are essential,” Hoffa said. “I think that you’re all essential. Everybody is essential, everybody has to live in this country. Congress is getting paid, but the most essential people, the government workers, aren’t getting paid. I call for them to go on and do their job!”