‘I Feel Like a Second-Class Citizen.’ Shutdown Pain Continues for Furloughed Government Contractors Who Don’t Get Back Pay

Gina Martinez
“I feel like a second class citizen now more than ever"

“I want to pay Faye’s rent. How do we contact her? I can’t watch a grown grandma cry,” Tjaden tweeted.

In an attempt to support contract workers, a group of congressional and senate leaders have announced support for the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act.

The bill aims to provide up to $600 per paycheck in back pay for furloughed federal contracted employees, including janitorial, food and security workers. It has the support of Democrats in the House and Senate, including Hawaiian Sen. Mazie Hirono and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III.

“Janitors, security guards, food service employees and millions of other contract workers who keep our government functioning will not be reimbursed for paychecks missed during this shutdown. Every single one of them should receive back pay. Period,” Kennedy tweeted Friday.

The Department of Labor, Office of Management and Budget and congressional leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the possibility of back pay for government contracted workers. The funding passed by Congress and signed by Trump only keeps the government open for three weeks while the President said he expected negotiations to continue for his proposed border wall. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said in a speech at the Rose Garden on Friday. Additional reporting by Mahita Gajanan.