Federal workers in Boston plan protest amid government shutdown

Federal workers in Boston plan protest amid government shutdown

BOSTON — Federal workers in Massachusetts who are off the job without pay are planning to protest the government shutdown.

Some of them are Environmental Protection Agency employees who are off the job with no pay.

"The anxiety levels of the employees are just astronomical right now because they're really concerned on how they're gonna feed their kids," said Steven Calder, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents EPA workers.

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The union is planning to protest the shutdown at noon on Friday in Post Office Square in Boston.

Calder, who is also one of hundreds of EPA workers, said he just took out a loan from his credit union for two weeks' pay.

"I'm trying to make it so it doesn't hurt too, too badly," he said. He may also apply for unemployment, now that he's not getting his full paycheck anymore.

"When you hear the president say that this could go on months to a year, I'm already preparing," Calder said.

There are more than 500 EPA workers in New England, with most of them based in Massachusetts.

Right now, only 22 are still working without pay.

"One person said 'I'm gonna work for my brother’s construction company,' and then another person asked me: 'Would it be okay if I drove for Uber?'" Calder said.

While the shutdown continues, EPA workers like Calder can't do their job to inspect air and water quality around New England.

"I can't see how we can go back and make up all those inspections that we should be doing," Calder said.

According to the EPA's website, more than 1,000 facilities have violations in Massachusetts, with a couple hundred of those classified as "significant."

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Posted by U.S. EPA - New England Region on Friday, December 28, 2018