Work­ers get first shut­down pay stub: $0

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

Fed­eral em­ploy­ees re­ceived pay stubs with noth­ing but ze­ros on them Fri­day as the ef­fects of the gov­ern­ment shut­down hit home, deep­en­ing anx­i­eties about mort­gage pay­ments and un­paid bills.

An es­ti­mated 800,000 gov­ern­ment work­ers missed their pay­checks for the first time since the shut­down be­gan.

Em­ploy­ees posted pho­tos of the pay stubs on Twit­ter and vented their frus­tra­tion as the stand­off over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­mand for $5.7 bil­lion for a bor­der wall en­tered its 21st day.

On Sat­ur­day, it will be­come the long­est shut­down in U.S. his­tory.

“I saw the ze­ros in my pay stub to­day, and it’s a com­bi­na­tion of re­al­ity set­ting in and just sad­ness,” air traf­fic con­troller Josh Maria said af­ter tweet­ing a screen­shot of his paystub. “We’re Amer­ica. We can do bet­ter than this.”

The missed pay­checks were just one sign of the mount­ing toll the shut­down is tak­ing on Amer­i­cans’ daily lives.

Roughly 420,000 fed­eral em­ploy­ees were deemed es­sen­tial and are work­ing un­paid. An ad­di­tional 380,000 are stay­ing home with­out pay. While fur­loughed fed­eral work­ers have been given back pay in pre­vi­ous shut­downs, there is no guar­an­tee that will hap­pen this time even though Congress passed leg­is­la­tion this week re­quir­ing that all gov­ern­ment work­ers re­ceive retroac­tive pay af­ter the par­tial shut­down ends.

Work­ers are turn­ing to Uber, Lyft and other side gigs to pick up some money in the mean­time.

But many say the side gigs aren’t mak­ing much dif­fer­ence.

Economists at S&P Global said the shut­down has cost the U.S. econ­omy $3.6 bil­lion. The typ­i­cal fed­eral em­ployee makes $37 an hour, which trans­lates into $1,480 a week, ac­cord­ing to La­bor Depart­ment data.

MICHAEL DWYER/AP

Fed­eral work­ers and sup­port­ers protest the gov­ern­ment shut­down Fri­day in Bos­ton. The shut­down be­gan Dec. 22.

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