Possiblity of shutdown worried gov't workers, military

April 8, 2011 8:29:59 PM PDT
Congressional leaders reached agreement with the White House late Friday night on a deal to cut tens of billions of dollars in federal spending and avert the closure.

A government shutdown would have affected many 50,000 federal employees who work in the Chicago area.

Taxpayers may not have noticed an eventual shutdown. They would still have received mail, social security payments would have continued, and air traffic and airport security would not have been affected.

However, federal employees and members of the military, especially those deployed overseas, were anxious.

"We are very stressed and we don't know what we're going to do," Navy wife Gianinna Coronado of Brighton Park told ABC7.

Coronado's husband, Edir, is serving on a ship just off the coast of Libya.

Deployments are tough on families. Add to that the possibility of a government shutdown.

"My first concern is his safety. Mentally, he's already experiencing the difficulty of being separated from us. And now, he's worrying about whether or not we're going to be fed, whether or not our rent will be paid, whether or not our car will be repossessed," said Coronado.

The financial stress weighs on the troops and their family members. The difficult part was not knowing if they would receive their next paycheck.

In Chicago, federal workers shared that concern.

"The membership is quite upset because of the fact of the uncertainty. A lot of people are not prepared for this. They thought all along that there's not going to be a shutdown. I've been telling my membership all along, be prepared for a shutdown, be prepared to not get paid," said Brent Barron, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 648.

"I'm fortunate enough not to be living paycheck to paycheck. For some people, they are living paycheck to paycheck, that next paycheck is essential," said Irene Stamatakis, federal employee.

When security guards locked down the Kluczynski Federal Building at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, it was unclear how long the doors would remain closed.

"They have had a lot of time to come to a compromise and this is just dragging out too long," said Ruben Moreno, federal employee.

"We were told to come in Monday morning and at that time we'll start up our shut down procedures. And we'll only be here for about four hours," said Jan, federal employee.

Before news of the deal, Coronado wondered if her husband would get paid for the work he has done.

"These men and women are serving our country and risking their lives, and this is not an added stressed that they need," said Coronado.

Illinois National Guard members were required to report to duty Saturday morning.

Military families who have loved ones deployed can get help here in Illinois. The Guard has set up family assistance centers. For more information for families who need help in the event of a government shutdown, visit www.il.ngb.army.mil.