FORREST CITY, AR (WMC) - Across the country, federal employees are on day 20 of working without pay.
A 1947 law required these federal union employees come to work despite not getting paid and not strike during work hours.
We're told no sick time or paid leave is allowed at this time. These employees must show up for work without knowing when their next paycheck will arrive.
This comes as lawmakers in Washington remain in a stalemate over funding the president's long-promised border wall.
“I don’t think a majority of individuals are against the wall, what we are against is them holding our paychecks hostage and having us as political pawns in the game,” said Brandy Moore from Council of Prison Locals C-33.
For the past 14 years Moore has worked at the federal prison in Forrest City, Arkansas. She also serves as treasurer of Council of Prison Locals C-33.
The union represents the approximately 30,000 employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons who are working without pay right now.
“It’s a really intense job,” Moore said. “We don’t have a lot of people that sign up to go guard prisoners every day.”
Moore said one of the ironies during this shut down are that paychecks are still coming in for federal inmates who are working while serving time.
She said that money comes from a different fund not being held hostage by Washington.
“So literally our staff are being required to go to work without pay and the inmates that they are supervising and are guarding all day are still getting paid,” Moore said.
A big concern now for the union is federal correctional employees in search of a steady paycheck might leave, which could leave prisons critically short-staffed.