“We want to work!” the group chanted.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are living in limbo during the government shutdown. Roughly 10,000 of those people are employed in Utah, but are being furloughed.
Jenny Brown is a furloughed IRS worker in Ogden. Brown said she and about 90 percent of IRS workers in Ogden are staying at home without pay. They were protesting on behalf of the NTEU or National Treasury Employees Union.
“It’s been some rough days,” Brown said. “We’re all worried. We don’t know what’s going to happen or when we’re going back to work.”
The group is also wondering when they will see their next paycheck.
“We’re hurting,” Brown said. “We’re struggling to make ends meet and pay the necessities.”
Monty Lewis and a group from the American Federation of Government Employees showed up to the protest in solidarity. Lewis works at Hill Air Force Base where he said about 2,700 employees are furloughed too.
Lewis is still going to work, but will not get paid until the shutdown is over.
“You’re at work knowing you’re not getting paid,” Lewis said. “It’s kind of hard to concentrate on your job.”
Lewis said he feels like a pawn in a game of chess and Congress is playing.
“We don’t know how long [the shutdown] will last,” Lewis added. “The uncertainty is bad on morale.”
He hopes Congress can settle their differences so Utahns can get back to work for the federal government.
“We need to get back to works because of our paychecks,” Brown added. “We also need to get back to work because there’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we need to be there doing it.”
Congress passed a law on Monday that allowed military workers to be paid during the shutdown, but that does not apply IRS workers across the country. Brown hopes Congress will decide to give IRS workers back pay once the shutdown is over.