WASHINGTON D.C. (ABC4 News) — The government shutdown is not just a Washington thing. And it’s not just a federal employee thing. There’s a ripple effect happening.
Thousands upon thousands of contractors work in federal facilities in big cities and small towns around America, especially the southeastern US from West Virginia and Virginia through the Carolinas— where so many federal facilities are located.
As one of the longest government shutdowns in history continues, Union officials tell ABC4 federal workers including those in low wage jobs are bracing for financial impact.
“Only 15 percent of federal employees are here in the Washington D.C. area, 85 percent are spread, they are in every state and every community across the country,” says Randy Erwin, representative of the National Federation of Federal Employees who represents more than 100,000 federal workers nationwide.
“Starting this week they are going to be missing their paychecks that means they are going to be missing mortgage payments, their checks are going to be bouncing, they are not going to be able to fill prescriptions.” Erwin continues.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) says Virginia is one of the hardest hit states because it borders D.C. and has a high number of federal employees. Kaine says the shutdown hits more than just federal employees.
Erwin tells ABC4 News many government contractors make far less than the estimated average of $85,000 for government employees. He says if the shutdown goes on for much longer it would be a financial disaster for families and communities across the country.
“To think that those people can go any extended time without a paycheck is really ridiculous,” says Erwin.
Erwin says until the shutdown ends federal workers may have to make some tough financial decisions. He says he hopes lawmakers and the White House reach an agreement soon.