Federal workers protest government shutdown in Lexington

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The longest government shutdown in United States history continues, and a group of protesters gathered outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office to voice their concerns.

Federal workers, from Lexington's Federal Medical Center, U.S. Penitentiary, and the Federal Correctional Institution of Manchester, began protesting Monday morning in Lexington with almost everyone of them having a co-worker struggling to make ends meet.

They want a vote to re-open the government.

"They don't even know if they can make it to work, yet they're required to work," said Jerry Jackson Jr, union president in Big Sandy.

Stephen Creech, a union president in Manchester, is hearing the same questions from workers.

"What do we pay now? Do we pay the mortgage, do we save gas money to get to work, what do we do? Do we buy the groceries? So now the times are starting to get tough," Creech said.

Nearly 800,000 workers across the country are furloughed. Many of them are still working without pay, including Robin Goode.

"We're middle class. We're hard-working, we're American citizens and we deserve a paycheck. We got bills to pay, we have childcare to pay for, we're ordered to go to work, but we're not getting a paycheck to pay for our bills," Goode said, union president at Federal Medical Center in Lexington.

Sen. McConnell-R spoke on the Senate floor on Monday to lawmakers and blamed Democrats for the ongoing shutdown.

"Here in the Senate, I'm sorry to say, my Democratic colleagues seem to have fallen in line, Sen. McConnell said. "Based on their actions, my colleagues across the aisle seem to agree: It's better for federal workers to keep going without pay than to invest one one-thousandth of federal spending in the same kinds of border security that they themselves voted repeatedly to fund in just the past two years. I have a hard time believing that every last one of my Senate Democratic colleagues really stands with Speaker Pelosi on this."

Despite the comments, those protesting simply want Sen. McConnell to get a vote to the floor.

It's the 24th day of the shutdown, which is being fueled due to tensions regarding U.S-Mexico border security.

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