All 255 employees at the Federal Correctional Facility in Pekin are required to show up to work, but at the end of this work week not a single one of them will be seeing a pay check.
“You know we have staff that are having to make tough choices right now, do they pay their mortgage or do they pay for medicines that they need.” said correctional facility employee and union president Tom Kamm.
As the government shut down ends it’s third week, Union President Tom Kamm said employees from both political parties feel used.
“We just wanna be taken out of the argument… don’t use us as political pawns… argue your political points in Washington DC, none of us live on the border.. we don’t know if we need a wall or not. But take us out of the argument.” said Kamm
Deemed as essential during a government shut down, employee Christopher Gibbs has three young children. He just had to scale back on his son’s 5th birthday party.
“Having to tell him, listen we can’t really have an extravagant 5th birthday for you because it’s just Daddy has to juggle his money and finances right now.” said Gibbs
The lack of a pay check is hitting especially hard for Jennifer Poisal who’s husband also works at the correctional facility. Doubling their empty pockets.
“Some of my savings went to pay for Christmas presents and I had the thought go through my head of do I have to take some back so I can make sure to have money in my account.” said Poisal.
With no end in sight and the accounts dwindling, all these employees can do is hope.
“I get upset and I’m mad, I get upset or I cry. But you know I go to bed at night worrying about it, I wake up worrying about it.” said Poisal
Emotions are high with the uncertainty of how long this government shut down is going to last, worrying the employees and their families as to how long they will be able to hold on.