DEVENS (CBS) – They are essential employees, David Martinez and Mike Guerriero, who are corrections officers at Devens federal prison. Right now “essential” means work without pay.
“The risk hasn’t changed. We’re not getting paid but the risk is the same,” said Martinez.
“The fact that I have to wait for a check to come even though I show up every day is disgraceful to me,” said Guerriero.
They are caught in the partial government shutdown that is now in its second week as the president and congress remain at an impasse over funding for a wall on the southern border. More than 800,000 federal employees have been impacted, and could face challenges without a resolution.
“The longer it goes on we’ll have to start prioritizing,” said Martinez. “Feeding the family, gas to get to work, potentially heating the home, and then some bills go by the wayside no question.”
National parks, including several in Massachusetts remain closed, such as Lowell National Historical Park where residents in the neighborhood say the absence is felt.
“There’s nothing here today it’s complete darkness,” said resident Marijane Bujold. “I know a lot of people who work here and are without a job right now.”
Adding insult to injury the federal workers say they received some general guidance offering interesting suggestions to get through the shutdown. “If you’re furloughed look for a second job. I also heard something if you can’t make rent payments ask the landlord if you can do chores,” said Guerriero.
They feel caught in the middle of a political struggle they say has real consequences.