Furloughed workers rally at Liberty Bell amid government shutdown

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Furloughed workers rally at Liberty Bell amid government shutdown. John Rawlins reports during Action News at Noon on January 8, 2018.

A large crowd of furloughed federal government workers rallied outside the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia on Tuesday, as the shutdown entered its 18th day.

They are facing their first payday without a paycheck.

"We are here because the very first union grievance was filed here in the summer of 1776," said Adam Duncan of AFGE Local 2058.

In 1776, the ire was directed at King George III. Now, the talk was about Donald Trump and the shutdown idling much of the federal workforce.

These furloughed workers at the rally were from the Parks Service, the EPA, Treasury and TSA.

If the shutdown continues they won't get paid on Friday, and some have an expectation of financial pain.

"It's going to be very difficult. I'm not going to be able to put food on my table, pay my mortgage, and anything else that needs to be done," said Rashida Byrd, who said she has applied for unemployment.

"We are working class folks, not high-paid politicians. We work. I'm an air conditioner mechanic, I'm a laborer. What other country, what other company, would make you go to work and not pay you?" said park service worker David Fitzpatrick.

Given the war of words in Washington, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how the current shutdown will play out.

That leaves those caught up in the middle of it unsure of what steps to take.

"It's a huge unknown. We don't know, 'should I file unemployment?' Should we start looking for new jobs? If it lasts a year, that's a reality," Duncan said. "Most of our employees, we're not talking six-figure employees. We're talking $50,000 or less, some making less than $15 an hour."

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politicsphilly newsgovernment shutdownPresident Donald TrumpcongressCenter City Philadelphia
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