Thousands of workers in Richmond furloughed during shutdown - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Thousands of workers in Richmond furloughed during shutdown

Source: NBC12 Source: NBC12

The government shutdown is affecting thousands of people in the Richmond area.

The message from federal employees to the Senate is simple.

"Congress, do your job. That's what you were elected to do," says Monique Samuels, president of the local American Federation of Government Employees union at the Defense Logistics Agency in Richmond.

Thousands of federal employees and non-essential military personnel are impacted.

"Our concern is it does affect working families," says Samuels. "So you shut down and there's no money. It affects us, whereas the congressmen, they continue to get paid."

Fort Lee says thousands of civilian workers on base will also be furloughed, unless they're considered essential, which includes security and emergency personnel.

The president of the local union that represents over 2,000 Fort Lee employees says workers received guidance from their managers, anticipating a shutdown which would result in furloughs.

"Contrary to popular belief, most federal employees live paycheck to paycheck, so it's been a very stressful situation for them," said Michael Castelle with the American Federation of Government Employees. "This is a priority, because now you're talking about people's livelihood as far as pay."

Those government employees will also affect local businesses.

"The residual income from Fort Lee, all these small shops, especially these fast food chains, that's where they get their money from. If the [government] employees are not getting paid, that's going to impact them too."

Employees at the CDC will also have to stop working, and it's in the middle of a flu epidemic. NBC12 asked the state health department if there's a plan. They're still evaluating the situation.

Social Security, health benefits and food stamps should not be taking a hit any time soon.

Political experts have this expectation about the shutdown.

"If there is a shutdown today, you can expect for all the political reasons that shutdown will be pretty brief," says Ravi Perry, chair of Political Science at VCU.

The topics causing the stall: the fight over building a wall, the fate of thousands of Dreamers and funding for a national children's insurance program.

Unlike the last government shutdown in 2013, this administration says national parks will be open.

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