Federal workers want long-term solution to government shutdown

Federal workers want long-term solution to government shutdown

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Democrats and Republicans will try to find a solution to the border wall controversy in an effort to keep the government open permanently.

Several employees and union representatives said they're breathing a sigh of relief for now, but they said a long-term solution has to be decided soon.

"This is a Band Aid on a gaping wound,” said AFGE National Representative Valyria Lewis about President Donald Trump’s announcement Friday afternoon.

President Trump said an agreement was reached, and the government is back open for three weeks.

"We don't want to kick the can down the road, keep kicking the can down the road because you're impacting these people's livelihoods,” said Memphis National Treasury Employees Union President Gibson Jones.

Several federal employees and community supporters held a rally in Memphis Friday to end the government shutdown.

These union leaders say they're grateful the shutdown has ended for now, but they're thinking ahead.

"We think this temporary fix doesn't relieve any anxiety for those folks who are now struggling because they haven't received a paycheck,” Lewis said.

Some IRS employees were citing "hardship" during the shutdown. According to Jones, this could mean things like financial struggle or lack of resources.

"If an employee was suffering a hardship based on the government shutdown and being asked to come back then they could immediately turn in that hardship and say, 'hey look, I’m having hardship’ and then they won’t be able to come back to work,” Jones said.

Jones said he’s afraid the temporary fix could lead to long-term problems, and he doesn’t want to see any federal employees leave their jobs.

“It’s stressful work already and then you’re putting added stress on top of that,” Jones said. “At some point it’s got to stop. It’s got to end.”

IRS employees along with other federal employees will head back to work Monday.

Jones said there are between 15,000 to 17,000 Mid-South federal employees at any given time.

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