Layoffs Could Affect One State Employee’s Health

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.

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