warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Government Shutdown Leaves Furloughed Employees Out of Luck

Janelle Cabuco |
October 2, 2013 | 11:51 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(Flickr Creative Commons/KAZ Vorpal)
(Flickr Creative Commons/KAZ Vorpal)
The federal government shutdown has left thousands of government employees with unpaid furloughs and unpaid paychecks. Julius Claros, a San Franciscan contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency, was one of those employees affected by the shutdown. Claros says, “I work for Environmental Protection Agency contracted by HPC. I’m in shipping and receiving; I handle incoming and outgoing mail, shipments and other various office duties such as maintenance of storage facilities and managing supplies.” Though he was given advanced notice that he would be furloughed if the government shut down, like many other furloughed employees, he was not prepared. The government shutdown has greatly affected Claros’ life; he says, “[without a job, I] can’t put food on the table; I can’t pay my bills.” Claros believes that “everyone is pretty much nonessential in [the government’s] eyes.” 

The federal government shutdown was triggered by a dispute over ObamaCare. While many people solely blame the Republicans who allowed the government shutdown to happen because they did not want ObamaCare, Claros blames both parties, Republican and Democrat. He says, “[the government shutdown only happened because the] two political parties are being stubborn and can’t come to an agreement.” He goes on to say, “[Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are] thinking about the working American people and [are only] thinking about their own personal and political agendas.” 

The most conservative Republicans in the house refused to pass a bill to fund the government unless it significantly delayed ObamaCare. Claros says, “When ObamaCare passed and became a law, the Republicans didn’t like [it. They are now] trying to take money out of [the] budget that funds ObamaCare. My opinion on it is that it passed so let it be. They had their chance to shut it down so let’s give it a try and see what happens.” 

No one knows how long this shutdown will last, not even those who have been furloughed. Without a guarantee of when they can come back to work or if they’ll even get paid for the time they missed, many of these furloughed employees have decided to look for temporary jobs. Claros not only plans to ask for more hours at his part-time job, but he also plans to look for another job since his main source of income came from the job he was furloughed from. Ironically, though employees like Claros have to scramble around looking for alternative sources of income, the lawmakers who agreed to let the government shut down are still getting paid. 



Reach Staff Reporter Janelle Cabuco here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.