Now 33 days into the government’s record-length partial shutdown, furloughed federal workers took to the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., in droves to call for the government to reopen.
On Wednesday, about 500 government workers, union leaders and supporters gathered in the building to protest — chanting phrases like “No more food banks, we need paychecks!” — said Jacqueline Simon, the policy director of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Demonstrators held up messages such as “Let me work” and “This is ‘America first?’” scrawled on disposable plates, with the plates signifying that “the cupboard is bare” as they go without paychecks, she said. They also observed 33 minutes of silence, symbolizing each day they’ve gone without pay amid the shutdown.
“We’re calling for the government to reopen and full funding for all the affected agencies,” Simon said. “People want to go back to work. They want to get paid.”
“Using shutdowns as a way of politicians forcing their will on the American people ― employees don’t want to be pawns in this kind of a game. They want to do their jobs and support their families,” she added.