Despite End to Shutdown, Many Federal Workers in 'Tough Place' until Next Paycheck Arrives
By Ken Smith, WRAL anchor/reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Following Friday’s announcement that President Donald Trump had reached a deal to temporarily reopen the government, federal workers on Friday night expressed mixed emotions about the end of the shutdown.
The news from Washington about a deal to temporarily reopen the federal government was the best news Brandon Dunstan has heard in three weeks.
“I’m actually on an overnight shift, so that was a good wakeup call,” he said.
Dunstan is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He represents union workers with the National Weather Service Employees Organization who have been working with no pay.
“It was very taxing, especially the length of the shutdown. It’s lasted so long,” he said.
Dunstan, who is a father of two and has another baby on the way, said the shutdown meant his family had to do a lot of belt tightening.
“Less eating, less shopping. We just tried to make cuts wherever we possibly could,” he said.
Many federal workers got help from nonprofits like the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, which has been giving away boxes of food to federal workers who could use the help.
“Federal employees, a lot of them are not guaranteed a check before Feb. 6, so in the meantime, they’re in a tough place,” said Elizabeth Rodgers with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
As Dunstan contemplates the last month and looks ahead to the near future, he said he is proceeding with cautious optimism.
“The fact that everyone is going to get paid and back paid, at least people will be able to catch up on their bills if they’re behind,” Dunstan said.
Dunstan said that he learned from NOAA on Friday night that he and his colleagues at the National Weather Service will get paid on Jan. 31. His main goal right now is rebuilding morale among his National Weather Service Union workers.
As for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, leaders of the nonprofit said they could still use donations since the government reopening is currently only temporary and workers will still have to wait on their next paycheck.