Jacksonville federal workers, supporters call for end to shutdown

Action News Jax at 6:00 PM

A group of federal workers and their supporters rallied in Jacksonville Saturday calling for an end to the shutdown.

The group marched down Liberty Street downtown, then lined State Street.

Their message on handmade signs: “Stop holding government employees hostage.”

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“You have bills, people calling you to pay bills and you don’t have the money,” Gloria Betts said.

She’s a Transport Security Administration screener at Jacksonville International Airport.

“It’s hard for us to be there. We’re trying to do the best we can make sure everyone is safe on the planes and do our job and not worry and be stressed about what we have to go home to,” she said.

She’s among the hundreds of federal employees in Jacksonville who haven’t been paid during the shutdown.

Minerva Faire said she was furloughed from her job at the Internal Revenue Service in Jacksonville but has been told she must return to work without pay.

“You can go without one paycheck, but we’re going into missing that second paycheck and it’s hard,” she said.

As they rallied downtown, a group gathered supplies for Coast Guard families at a donation drive at the beach.

More than 500 Coast Guard families in Jacksonville haven’t been paid in weeks.

“Working families are being hurt, children are being hurt by this shutdown and we need it to end,” Kristan Morgan, a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee, said.

The demonstrators at Saturday’s rally urged people in Jacksonville to contact their lawmakers about bringing an end to the shutdown.

In Jacksonville, city leaders say grants are available to families with proof that they've been furloughed or are working without pay.