Furloughed U.S.-government workers during the government shutdown in 2013Gary Cameron / Reuters

Why Federal Workers Still Have to Show Up Even If They’re Not Being Paid

Since the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, Russell Berman wrote on Wednesday, federal employees have been legally prohibited from striking—which means that during a government shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are not on furlough must continue working without pay, indefinitely.


My husband is a senior federal corrections officer at United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, in West Virginia. He has been working up to 18-hour days. He is a dedicated officer. The inmates respect him, he does his job well. With this shutdown, he still has to go to work, but with no paycheck. Still he works extreme overtime.

We are terrified about what the future may hold. We are a one-income household. I have had some health problems and stay home and support him while he works. Yet we have had to have the frightening discussion, What will we do if this shutdown lasts beyond February?

If he has to leave the [Federal Bureau of Prisons], we lose 12 years of retirement and a decent income. We would have to move in with his mother and try to get jobs to survive. We would never be able to retire.

We really were supporters of the Trump administration, but Trump’s lack of concern for the American people, people just like us, has caused us to feel that the sooner he leaves the White House, the better off America will be.

In truth, no American will be untouched by this shutdown, and for some, it will change their lives forever.

Tanya Louise Allen
Morgantown, W.Va.

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