Federal prison workers protest gov’t shutdown at McConnell’s office


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) —  Federal prison workers in Lexington and surrounding areas held a government shutdown protest outside of Mitch McConnell’s office Monday.

They say this was to bring attention to the fact that they’ve been working this entire  shutdown with no pay and no end in sight.

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They tell us this past week was their first missed paycheck and it’s starting to take a toll on them and their families.

“We’re going to work everyday in a dangerous environment and we’re not getting paid for it,” says vice president of Union Local 187, Billy Parks.

McConnell is Senate Majority Leader and he says the senate will not consider a House-backed plan to reopen the government because it doesn’t have the border wall money that President Trump demands.

Some of these workers say they’re being hit twice.

“We also have husbands and wives that both work at the institution so with neither one of them getting paid how are they taking care of their families,” says Robin Goode, president of Union Local 187.

We’re now on day 24 of the shutdown making this the longest one in history.

“There’s no telling when this will end and that’s a scary thought,” says Jerry Jackson, Jr., president of Union Local 612.  “Because we expect our paycheck I mean Lord knows the government expects us to pay taxes.”

“Just in Kentucky alone there’s five federal institutions and it’s affecting thousands of employees and their families,” says president of Union Local 4051, Stephen Creech.

Employees say their shifts are usually eight hours but when staff is calling in saying they can’t afford to drive to work that leaves some to work double time.

“The longer it goes the less people have money,” says Jackson, Jr. “The less money they have the less likely they’re gonna go to work.”

Several businesses showed their support for these furloughed employees.

The Speedway across the street from the rally gave the workers free coffee all day long and a local restaurant even catered them lunch.

“This is affecting families, this is affecting communities. Get it done. Go to Washington, get on the floor, get us a bill to open this government up. Pay your employees that are still having to report. We’re waiting,” says Creech.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.