WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) — The reality of a possible government shutdown is setting in for thousands of Minnesota state workers who’ve received their layoff notices.

Lawmakers have just 19 days to come to a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown.

Garry Schindler choose to build his life in rural Minnesota to escape the stress of the city.  But, as a state worker, his two-hour separation from St. Paul isn’t enough to spare him any worry.

“I’m on overload,” said Schindler, who works for Minnesota State College Southeast Technical.

Like 36,000 others around Minnesota, he got a warning letter that on July 1, he could be out of a job.

“I really don’t have a lot of faith that they’re cooperating,” Schindler said.

For him, the timing could not be worse.

“I’m going to be in the hospital and I’ve got to try to find money to pay for my insurance,” Schindler said.

Diagnosed with kidney cancer, he’s having surgery just days before the possible shutdown. Right now, he’s trying to focus on family, but money is also taking up his attention.

“We’re not high on the cash scale, so I’m going to have to bust into retirement,” said Schindler.

He has another option, but that would also require him to gamble with his health.

“I have a choice of not having the cancer removed and waiting until they decide to make things work,” he said.

Nineteen days and the clock is ticking. Schindler’s hope is that lawmakers come to an agreement before he runs out of time.

“I’m paying you to do your job, I’m paying you to make our lives better. I’m not paying you to play politics,” Schindler said.

Schindler was not affected by the last shutdown in 2005. He said he now wishes he would have paid more attention back then and put in calls to lawmakers to help state workers affected by the those layoffs.

A judge will decide which services are deemed essential and non-essential.

Comments (27)
  1. Joe Hanson says:

    Call Governor Dayton at 651-201-3400 and tell him to accept the Legislatures budget so Mr. Schindler can have his lifesaving surgery.

    1. jd says:

      yes so ALLL of us can suffer. you repugnican go somewhere else we’re not falling for your third reich!

      1. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

        Name calling is childish and never helps. Grow up.

    2. Zeke says:

      The only number you must have read in the budget is the final number, Do you really think the federal government is going to allow a waiver for medicaid? Two reasons why it will never happen. If they give it to Minnesota they have to give it to the rest of the states who have asked and not received it. Two, it is a GOP proposal. Without that waiver, no money. Their plan depends on mythical tax gains from a revenue forecast that are far more optimistic than anyone else can find. Penalize “inefficient” health care providers with a plan for what that inefficiency is to save money. It still did not do anything about the freeloader who could work and penalized those who could not. Smoke and mirrors without any solid plan. Dayton might have signed the thing if it were based in some reality. Since you are on the computer
      and tell them to come up with a plan based on reality

    3. Joseph Rodela says:

      I would, but he can’t answer the phone. His hands are tied because the legislature is holding him hostage.

  2. jd says:

    this is blackmail wcco! cut it out!!! you’re the ones playing politics.

  3. Mike Merker says:

    Republicans passed a 34 billion dollar budget. 2 billion more then the previous spending. Dayton vetoed it. Dayton would not allow his staff to meet with republicans afterwards to negotiate a new budget. The blame falls squarely on Dayton not the republicans. So I expect the next few weeks that the media will play a willing accomplice in the democrats scare tactics.

  4. Rob says:

    I really don’t understand why when a Government worker gets laid off it’s tragic. But there is no mention of the fact the workers in the private sector has been going through lay offs, and reduced work weeks for the last 3 yaars. /A tax on the rich will cause one thing, The rich will move somewhere else and the net result the state of Minnesota will be farther in the hole.

  5. Jeff says:

    This is a large scale layoff, thats why it is being covered. I remember other large scale layoffs/shutdown from private sector companies being reported on. I believe HTI in Hutchinson was a recent newsmaker. It stinks that anyone has to go through this. Most people feel sorry for the people in the private sector that were getting laid off, why not the same here? Should we fault the state workers who applied for the job and got it?? Private sector people can apply for those jobs too.

    1. James2 says:

      Because Jeff, a government worker will get the job back with all the bennies. A private worker is S.O.L, and that’s the difference.

      1. Jeff says:

        Oh, I see!! Ok, I really don’t. It makes no sense at all. Can a private sector employee apply for the same state job? I’m pretty sure they can. Just like a state worker can apply for the same private sector job. If they are qualified for each respective job that is.

  6. Ron says:

    You must be a Republican Mr joe hanson,Tell your buddys to pay their fair share so gary can have the life saving surgery!

  7. Sanity says:

    It states his surgery is scheduled days BEFORE the shutdown. That means his surgery will be covered by insurance. Most likely so will his entire recovery since the date of shurdown will NOT be the date of cancellation on his insurance policy. In reality he will probably qualify for MA which backdates up to 160 days on medical expenses. Any unpaid balance would then be covered under MA even if he didn’t apply until early fall.

  8. Paul Revere says:

    WCCO receives state funded money. That is the whole reason why there is so many stories about how it will affect the workers. The unions have given ‘CCO tons of money. Think about it how many stories did WCCO do when average American who lost there jobs and Health Care. How much money do you think that WCCO gives to the DFL. They should change there call letters to WDFL.

    1. jimmy says:

      @ Paul Revere
      That why they’ went to a right wing agenda even though they are losing listeners because of it.
      I know of no money that WCCO gave to the DFL, I do know their talk show hosts Gave to the GOP then lied about on air.

  9. StraycatStrut says:

    Budget Proposed: $34,000,000,000
    MN Population: 5,304,000 (approx)
    Equals (Approx) $6500 per person to MN.
    Still not enough ? How much more do we need?

    1. Mike says:

      $6500 per person really is not that much when you think about it. Roads, police, schools, parks etc etc etc- Sounds pretty cheap to me

  10. John says:

    I think the bigger point is everyday real life for a lot of Minnesotans are getting caught up in this political divide. Gary’s unfortunate situation made worse by bad timing is sadly tragic for him and the people who care about him and his family. I also know there are many others in the same boat, dealing with a serious illness and worried about ongoing health care coverage.

    1. Citizen says:

      @John. I have often said that the health care crisis is driving the financial crisis and the debt crisis of the government. Take the age restriction off Medicare and allow all taxpayers to buy in. A single payer plan. The government has the power to negotiate prices for drugs, doctors, and hospitals. Yep, I guess that would be nationalization of health care just like other all other countries in the world who believe that health care is a RIGHT, not an opportunity for business to make humongous profits. The simple fact that health care CEO’s make millions every year while the middle class and small business can barely afford the premiums is disgusting. If the private sector (like Paul Ryan says) could hold down health care costs and premium costs, it would have already done so. It can’t. Private sector health insurance is a failure. The sooner the American people realize we need a single-payer, government run system, the sooner we can move forward to fiscal sanity.

      1. Lance says:

        Single payer plan has been totally rejected, get over it. It ain’t happening. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

  11. me says:


  12. No New Taxes says:

    Just reinstate the necessary ones.

  13. tuna-free dolphin says:

    ” A sob story a day until we get our way”. “A victim a day keeps the budget cuts away”. They’re gonna scream like stuck pigs. Just make the cuts already. Like a child throwing a tantrum, eventually we’ll just ignore them.

  14. Tim says:

    Big Deal what about every one else that are laied off and don’t have ins. quit crying you babby.

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