Federal workers protest shutdown, demand jobs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Federal workers protest shutdown, demand jobs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

As lawmakers debated in Washington, those impacted most in Virginia took to the streets.

Wednesday afternoon, federal employees with area labor unions protested in downtown Richmond, demanding their jobs back. Their chants are a cry for change.

"Stop the madness," workers proclaimed, referring to the politics at the nation's capitol.

With a walking cane in hand, Mary Player knew she had to be here.

"October 2nd, we worked half a day and we haven't worked since then," she said.

Player loves her job at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"We help people pay their rent, we help homeless vets…I love it because I'm a public servant and I get to work with the people," she said.

But the government shutdown has shut down her ability to make ends meet for 2 weeks now.

"I got [a paycheck] just the other day, and just half a check, so half the bills are paid…If they continue to go, you roll into the next month, the house note, car note," she complained.

So with signs in hand and loud voices to match their many concerns, government workers protested at Kanawha Plaza.

"Let it be today. Do it today. 16 days is long enough. Stop the politics," said Virginia's AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays.

She stopped by encouraging the protesters.

"Generally we like to tell and encourage people to call their members of Congress. The only problem now is there's no one there to answer the phone," she said.

Instead, they're assembling with one goal: lawmakers will come to an agreement.

"There's a terminology ‘kick the can down the road'. Well at some point and time we need to pick the can up…fill it with jobs, fill it with services that people need and carry the can. Quit kicking that can down the road," Crouse-Mays added.

While many of the protestors are without work right now, they still have plenty of hope.

"Once they open back up, it will be good for us," Player said.

Some 400,000 federal workers are furloughed as a result of the shutdown. Since then, Wednesday's protest is one of 200 the American Federation of Government Employees has held nationwide and leaders say these types of protests will continue until they have their government again.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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