Guam federal employees feel first missed paycheck - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam federal employees feel first missed paycheck

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The longest-ever US Government shutdown continues, and federal workers here are among the estimated 800,000 that are impacted. The employees are also feeling the effects of their first missed paycheck. We spoke with a local union representative who says it will only get harder if the furloughs don't end soon.

Four weeks into the shutdown and the President and congressional Democrats remain at odds over Trump's demand for funding for a southern border wall before he will reopen the government. Many exempted employees here, like FAA air traffic controllers, and TSA screeners have remained on the job, but are not getting paid. And while some stateside airports complain that employee call-outs are creating longer lines, the Guam airport reports no change in screening times.

Likewise, a majority of National Weather Service employees are also working without pay. Ken Kleeschultee is their Union steward.

"We're doing ok right now," he said. "There are some of us suffering a little bit more than others because we do have some of us working paycheck to paycheck and they're already suffering. Some of us like myself, I can make it another month, maybe two if I push it."

He said several banks and other financial institutions are offering help. In the meantime, employees are hopeful a resolution will be found soon. What if there's a prolonged shutdown?

"When you're sitting there wondering where your next meal is coming from its going to affect you," Kleeschultee said. "When you're wondering how am I going to pay my mortgage, how am I going to pay for my car, how am I going to get gas to get back and forth to work? And that's things that's actually already popping up in people's minds. And as it goes on that's just going to get worse."

Kleeschultee's not blaming anyone in Washington for the shutdown. He said they just want it to end.

"We don't care what side of the fence you're on, using that term because basically, that's what this is all about a fence," he said. "We don't care what side of the fence you're on, we just want it to end. We want to be able to do our jobs. We want to make sure people stay safe, because that's our job."

During the partial government shutdown, the federal judiciary has continued its operations. They are using court fee balances and other "no-year" funds. The District Court of Guam and the federal judiciary is funded through Jan. 25.

If existing funds become depleted, the court will reduce activities.

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