Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV / YouTube Federal workers rally to show impact 1547165114.jpg...
Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV / YouTube

Federal workers who aren’t being paid during the government shutdown are in a seriously tough spot. Even if they’re not required to be on the job without a paycheck, it’s tough to find work to get them through until the government reopens and they get paid. Federal rules prohibit them from taking second jobs that could conflict with their government work, and they can’t promise potential employers they’ll stick around for long—whether they’re going back to work because the shutdown ends or because Donald Trump calls them back from furlough, deciding they’re so important they need to be on the job even if they’re not important enough to pay.

Many federal workers are looking for side hustles—it’s just not that easy. One woman profiled by the New York Times is driving for Uber, but on the day a reporter followed her, she took in less than $4. Angela Kelley is 51 and raising her granddaughter. She lives with a roommate in Milwaukee where she works for the Bureau of Land Management, living $1,100 paycheck to $1,100 paycheck. She’s driving Uber to try to provide basic necessities for her granddaughter, but also because “It gets me out of the house. It gives me a routine.”

Another woman told the Times that “It’s almost as if I’m starting over again from a teenager.” Felicia Thompson has two kids in college and is thinking of taking money out of her retirement savings to pay the mortgage, because delivering groceries and takeout meals is not going to be enough.

These are people who’ve put in years at their jobs and now they’re scraping to get by, hoping they can stick it out until Trump allows the government to reopen. They deserve better. The nation deserves better.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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