Alaska's federal workers to lawmakers: Get it right this time
Federal workers have been given a reprieve from lawmakers. The 35-day government shutdown is over — for now.
On Friday, President Trump announced a deal had been made, but it's temporary. If a permanent arrangement isn't agreed upon by the president and Congress in three weeks it'll be a sequel nobody wants to see.
"It's wrong, and it should never happen again," Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said. "We should not be using good men and women and the work they do for this country, as a political weapon to achieve a specific legislative outcome."
Local labor representatives agree.
"This punctuates the amount of important work that every federal worker does. They're not meaningless jobs," said Clinten Lancaster, the regional vice president for the national air traffic controllers.
The feedback he received from his colleagues was celebratory, but guarded.
"One is relief. People are just like, 'Oh I can breathe for a second now.' I think the other reaction is we had to do a lot of work to get the message out there are do it and I think people are still preparing to get that message out and keep it out."
It was same the for those who help ensure citizens' safety at the airports and waterways.
According to Dave Owens, the national representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, over 5,200 people were either working without pay or furloughed during the shutdown. Among those, he advocates for were the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard.
Owens didn't mince words when asked about their morale.
"Used. They felt like they were used," he said. "They were like chess pieces used in a game. They're dedicated to their job and they were treated like nothing. Like it didn't matter."
It is estimated that federal workers who went without paychecks will get paid some time next week.
Dave Leval contributed to this report.
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