BOSTON (CBS) – With signs reading “Let us work” and “Workers not walls,” dozens of federal workers gathered at Post Office Square in Boston on Friday to protest the 21st day of the government shutdown.
“Uncertainty” was the word most heard on protesters lips.
“We’re trying to scale back right now,” said protester Neil Handler. “We don’t know how long it’s going to last.”
Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) joined the protesters, as did members of federal organizations, including the TSA, AFGE (Association of Federal Government Employees) and the EPA.
“The president said that he was going to have the Mexicans pay for the wall,” Markey said. “Instead, it’s federal workers — 800,000 of them — who are going without pay.”
The protesters are a small fraction of Massachusetts’ approximately 8,000 federal workers.
This government shutdown will become the longest in U.S. history on Saturday at 22 days. President Trump and Congress are at an impasse regarding $5.7 billion worth of funding for a border wall. Experts believe the shutdown could last for several more weeks.
“We just want to go back to work,” said protester Roseanne Sawaya-O’Brien. “We don’t want to be pawns in this whole situation. It’s just crazy.”
Markey said he would forego his salary during the government shutdown. Representatives Joe Kennedey, Lore Trahan and Seth Moulton said they would also go without their salaries, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she would donate her salary. A spokesperson for Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Pressley’s family depended on her paycheck, so she would collect her salary during the shutdown.