Civilian Employees Protest Government Shutdown in Beaufort - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Civilian Employees Protest Government Shutdown in Beaufort

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"We're talking up to probably about 12-hundred people that are being sent home without pay," said Sue Partridge, president, of the local chapter of American Federation of Government Employees. 

Some of those people decided they weren't going to take this lying down, protesting Tuesday afternoon on Boundary Street in Beaufort.

Local officials say the government shutdown is already having a major impact in maintenance Beaufort County. Officials at Parris Island Marine Recruiting Depot say about 66% of their civilian workers have been placed on furlough, but Partridge thinks it will be more.

"80% of the employees at Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station were sent home, and 50% from the Naval hospital and we have no idea when we'll be able to go back to work."

And for veteran Jonathan Fritz, he's taking this layoff personally.

"The federal government is the largest employer of veterans that we have out there, so this is basically like congress giving the big middle finger to the veterans as well."

Protestors lined Boundary Street Tuesday, calling for their community to act.

Saying the worst part of this is the uncertainty of just how long this will last, and what to do in the meantime.

"Could be a day, could be months. We have no idea at this point," said Partridge. 

Fritz agrees.

"There are some of us that have trades that can go work somewhere else, but if you're on a job and they come to a resolution, then you have to quit that job and go back to your regular paying job, then what do you do?"

"Nobody knows if they are going to have money to feed their families, pay their mortgage, or even have gas to go to work," said Partridge. 

The civilian employees say if they aren't back in work by Thursday, they'll be back out on the picket line.

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