As the federal government shutdown stretches into its second month, it is beginning to take a very personal toll on hundreds of thousands who are either furloughed, or working without pay. President Trump’s daughter-in-law said this week that this is a “little” pain, but an important sacrifice, for the wall the president wants to build.
But that would be a hard sell for someone like Kimberly Nicholson, a federal investigator with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“When we’re down and we can’t work, that means individuals can’t exercise their rights to file a charge of employment discrimination,” Nicholson tells WDET’s Eli Newman. ”They only have 300 days in this state from their date of harm to file a charge. If they miss that 300-day window, they cannot proceed directly into federal court. They have to start in the lower courts, so their rights are being denied because we’re not on the job.”
Or how about Gregory Simpkins, president of the TSA union in Michigan?
“We are called emergency personnel so we still have to report to work,” says Simpkins. ”We are the first line of defense, as far as the traveling public. The morale is low right now.”
These workers, and the people they serve in that work, are hostages in the standoff over the border wall debate. And with no end in sight, their pain stands to grow considerably.
On Detroit Today, Stephen Henderson speaks with a number of Michigan lawmakers about their perspectives on the shutdown and how we might stop this madness, or at least make the effects less difficult. He talks with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.), and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills).
Click on the audio player above to hear those conversations.