FCI Bastrop employees still have to work despite government shutdown

Friday is payday or at least it should be for more than 800,000 federal workers.

While not getting paid some of them still have to work.

“What would you do if you weren't getting a pay check? How would you pay your bills, how would you manage, and then you have to go to work to,” said Ellen Chamblin.

Chamblin is a correctional officer and the local chapter president for American Federation of Government Employees. “I wish that the politicians would quit playing chicken with our lives and do their job and fund the federal government like they're supposed to,” said Chamblin.

Like Border Patrol and the TSA, people who work for federal prisons like the one in Bastrop still have to show up despite not getting paid. “All the way to the newest correctional officer to the warden is not getting paid but we have to be there,” said Chamblin.

While Chamblin said she is fortunate to have some money saved up many of her coworkers don't.

“I'm sure it will come to a point where staff will be going to food banks and that's just straight crazy,” said Chamblin. While they are still working, Chamblin said she and everyone else at the prison can't apply for unemployment benefits. “The furloughed workers that were sent home and not getting paid are eligible for unemployment so what do we do, what would you do,” said Chamblin.

While everyone is still getting their work done at the prison, if the shutdown continues that may not be the case for much longer. “People could get upset and stop coming to work, I hope that doesn't happen. I hope they fund the government soon so we can get back on track,” said Chamblin.

For now, all Chamblin said she can do is keep calling Congress and hope they hear her pleas for help. “Congress is getting paid, the senate is getting paid, they passed legislation that they're going to get paid. I don't know if any of them struggle like the average person anyway,” said Chamblin.

Chamblin said she doesn't care what's done in Congress with regards to the dispute over the border wall, she just wants her and her coworkers to get paid.