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Union: 'Federal employees are being held as a pawn over something we have no control over'

Posted at 3:13 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 18:36:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of federal employees in the Kansas City area are being effected by the government shutdown and some are turning to loans or short term jobs to make ends meet.

"Federal employees are being held as pawns in something we have no control over. We have no part in this fight,” said Shannon Ellis, an IRS worker and NTEU Chapter President.

Ellis hoped it wouldn't come to making signs urging lawmakers to end the government shutdown and send her back to work.

LISTEN: The 41 Files podcast talks government shutdown impacts in Kansas City

"It makes you angry that you have to call your creditors and tell them things you don’t have the answers for," she said. "I don’t know when I am going to get paid. I don’t know when this is going to end and I get to go back to work."

In her 15 years with the IRS in Kansas City, Ellis has experienced a shutdown before, but not like this one with days away from missing a check.

"I’ve had to differ my car payment, I’ve research in case I have to get a loan for my next mortgage payment,” said Ellis.

Ellis is the president of the union chapter that represents IRS workers in Kansas City.

Some employees have turned to loans, others even creating GoFundMe pages.

41 Action News talked to one IRS employee who wanted to remain anonymous. The employee says she just applied for Uber and Left.

"What I am able to do on my own is just not turning around fast enough to get that amount of money,” said the employee. "As long as I get approved between now and Saturday, I am going to work the game, the Chiefs Game, I heard its a lot of money in that so I am going to work all day.”

As Ellis prepares to make her voice heard with others, she wants people to know this: Missing a check, even if it is just one, can change someones life instantly.

"The average employee lives paycheck to paycheck, so saying you can go two weeks or a month without a paycheck, it is not realistic,” said Ellis.

Federal workers will hold a rally at noon Thursday across the street from the IRS building in Kansas City.