DENVER — Friday was supposed to be payday for federal workers.
But as the shutdown continues, payday came and went without a check.
“It’s a huge burden for staff,” said Chris Janssen, a correctional officer at FCI Englewood, a federal prison in the Denver Metro. Janssen is also the president of the union that represents about 300 employees who work there, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 709.
He said union members will get back-pay for the time they’ve worked. Congress passed a bill Friday that ensures back-pay for all federal workers when the shutdown ends.
But the bills don’t wait
“They are dealing with how they get to work without gas money,” Janssen said. “How do they pay for their children’s medications? We have families that the husband and the wife both work at the institution, so they're wondering who is going to take care of their kids.”
These are questions Janssen can’t answer. Instead, he tries to pass along any information he has to union members asking about finances or unemployment.
Local 709 represents about 300 employees at FCI Englewood. There is another federal prison in southern Colorado, where Janssen said about 1000 employees are affected by the shutdown.