SALISBURY, N.C. — A group of union activists, federal employees, and their supporters rallied in Salisbury Thursday afternoon to end the partial government shutdown.
Members of the American Federation of Government Employees and more gathered in front of the Salisbury VA Medical Center, chanting, “What do we want? End the shutdown. When do we want it? Now.”
Rosetta Sloan, AFGE secretary treasurer for Local 1738, said she wanted to protest the shutdown because it's hurting federal employees trying to support their families.
“We want people from Washington, our lawmakers, to come to the table to sit down and sign a bill that is going to continue to pay our employees,” Sloan said.
Many federal employees are in jeopardy of missing a paycheck on Friday. Activists said they want to show support for TSA officers and others working without pay.
“We have people that live from paycheck to paycheck, and they need their pay,” Sloan said. “It’s not like they’re not working for it. They’re working for it.”
Amid reports that TSA officers have been calling out from work, the administration insists security standards remain high and wait times reasonable.
TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs Michael Bilello tweeted that passengers waited a maximum of 16 minutes at security checkpoints at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Wednesday.
Before President Trump left for Texas Thursday, he spoke to media, pushing for more than $5 billion to fund a border wall.
“So we're either going to have a win, make a compromise because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency,” Trump said.
Activists at the protest in Salisbury said they hope a solution is found soon, so the hundreds of thousands of federal employees impacted by the shutdown can work and be paid for their work.
“It needs to end today, so we need to stop playing games with people’s lives,” said Essie Hogue, president of AFGE Local 1738.