‘If it continues on, my family is in a bad way’: Federal workers want shutdown to end

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A group of furloughed federal workers met with Sen. Bob Menendez Friday to express their frustration about being without a paycheck during the partial government shutdown.

The group met at the Montclair Bread Company. Baker Rachel Wyman said that she wanted to give back to the workers who were impacted by the shutdown by giving them food from her store.

“Free coffee, a sandwich, a loaf of bread. Whenever they want,” Wyman said.

Earlier this week she made 500 doughnuts and delivered them free to Transportation Security Administration agents at Newark Liberty International Airport. The TSA agents have to work, but are not getting paid during the shutdown.

One federal worker at Friday’s meeting was corrections officer Rod Koeppen. He works at the Fort Dix Federal Prison and is also required to work without pay.

RELATED: New Jersey gives back to help furloughed federal workers 
RELATED: NJ college will defer tuition payments for students impacted by shutdown 

“Talking with inmates, you know, they're more compassionate, it seems right now, than the government,” he says. “They say, 'I can't believe you guys have to come to work. I can’t believe you’re coming in. You’re not getting paid.’"

Mike Morel is a DED educator at the prison. He says that the shutdown has been hard on his family.

“I probably have another pay period where I can get by, and then after that, if it continues on, my family is in a bad way,” he says.

MORE: Air traffic controllers call for an end to the federal government shutdown 
MORE: TSA workers treated to free pizza amid federal government shutdown 

Some of the people at the meeting were family members of furloughed works. Colleen Schultz’s 22-year-old son is in the Coast Guard and is working without pay.

“Our Coasties are standing in lines at food banks,” she says.

The government shutdown began 28 days ago due to a dispute between President Donald Trump and Congress about funding for border security and a wall along the United States and Mexico border.

Sen. Menendez says that the shutdown is a risk to national security.

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