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Federal workers protest partial government shutdown in Detroit

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Michigan-based federal workers rallied against the partial government shutdown in Detroit’s Federal Plaza Thursday.

The workers say the shutdown is putting the public at risk, and families in financial peril, as the shutdown driven by President Trump’s desired border wall drags into its third week.

Jeff Kimble is part of the emergency response corps for the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s furloughed right now.

“If everybody that really supports this wall and is willing to give up their paycheck for it, I’ll give them my address. They can send me their paycheck," Kimble said. "[I've] got bills to pay, I’ve got kids in college, I’ve got stress over all of this. It’s not a good situation to be in.”

Kimble is among around 380,000 federal workers on furlough nationally. Another 420,000 are working without pay, according to the American Federation of Government Employees. The union organized Thursday's rally.

The workers say they’re being held hostage in a political war over President Trump’s border wall. They urged Trump and Congress to pass a budget and fund federal agencies.

Marshia Cordray has been furloughed from her job with the Food and Drug Administration. About a year from her planned retirement, she’s been forced to dip into savings to survive without a paycheck.

But Cordray says she’s actually doing all right compared to some of her younger colleagues.

“They do a critical job to keep this country safe, the same way that I do," Cordray said. "They deserve to be working, they deserve to be paid.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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