EPA, TSA & FEMA workers in Dallas rally for end to shutdown

- As the partial government shutdown continues, thousands of federal employees are either furloughed from work or are working without pay.

To protest the interruptions to their work, missed paychecks and services being denied to Americans, a group of workers from the Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Security Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency is protesting in Dallas. Employees said they are having to cut back and are considering delaying bill payments to get by.

The shutdown is very real for 800,000 federal employees who will not get their paychecks on Friday. Desperate to be heard, they gathered on Ross Avenue, where the EPA’s office is closed.

Transportation Security Officer Becky Mancha has been arriving to work at Dallas Love Field every morning at 3:15. But on Friday, she won’t get a paycheck.

“It's a little scary when you have family at home that depend on you on a daily basis,” she said. “We've cut out going out to eat. I bring my lunch every day.”

Mancha’s family is making as many cuts as possible. She says Southwest Airlines provided TSA workers lunch on Thursday.

“They depend on us like we depend on them,” she said.

But Mancha isn't sure how long some of her colleagues will be able to afford to keep going to work.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures. People will do what they have to do. “Whether they are out of money for gas to drive to work or money for daycare, they will have to do what's best for them.”

The average TSO is paid $500 a week, and TSA workers are just a fraction of those impacted.

Kyle Coats with the federal prison in Seagoville says if the shutdown continues, lives could potentially be in danger.

“There will be people who get frustrated and don't show up to work,” he warned. “It's going to have a direct impact on the safety of staff that works there and inmates also.”

Tom Blazek is a telephone representative with the IRS.

“All of us want to go back to work,” he said. “I know I do. I'm sure all of my coworkers do.”

But while they are furloughed, people with tax questions for the IRS are out of luck.

“Their calls aren't being answered because there is no one there to answer them,” Blazek said.

Most federal workers FOX 4 talked with weren't pointing fingers of blame for the shutdown.

“I don't care if the wall is built or not built,” said Harriet Smith, a transportation security officer for Dallas Love Field. “I just want to get paid for doing my job.”

Mancha says the callout rate currently for TSA workers is low at Dallas Love Field.

A union representative said DFW is making contingency plans for potentially closing some checkpoints if there aren't enough security officers.

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