Protesters of the government shutdown gather in Fresno near the IRS processing center Thursday morning. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
A rally was held outside the IRS office in Fresno today to call for an end to the federal government shutdown.
Furloughed IRS workers and members of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) gathered outside of the IRS Processing Center at 5045 E Butler Ave. from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
They joined out-of-work IRS staffers in rallies held across the country.
Over 800,000 federal workers are furloughed because of the shutdown, and today marks the first payday that IRS workers will go without a check.
Some employees who are considered “essential workers” will have to work without pay, and if they do not show up, they are considered to be AWOL — absence without leave.
“As federal employees and IRS employees, we get hit with this a lot,” said Jason Sisk, president of the NTEU. “If they don’t pass the budget timely, then we always have to worry if they are going to sign a continuing resolution in the mean time to keep us working. If they don’t, we get put out of work with no pay.”
Nearly 100 IRS workers and supporters attended.
Rallygoers chanted “We want to get paid” and “End the shutdown” as cars passing by honked.
B. Rodriguez, a furloughed customer service representative for the IRS, said the shutdown is negatively impacting workers and their families.
“We’re not getting paid and our families are suffering for it,” said Rodriguez. “We have dependents that are depending on our paycheck, as a single parent, to provide for them. I have to try to find different ways to make ends meet and feed my children.”
If the government shutdown goes past this Saturday, it will be the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.