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148 Veterans Service Workers Furloughed In Mpls.

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More furloughs for federal workers in Minneapolis Tuesday as the shutdown entered its eighth day.

The union representing veterans service workers says 148 employees were notified they would be sent home as a result of the shutdown.

Jeff Burke said he and his wife, who is also a federal employee, received a letter
which read: “The Department of Veterans Affairs is placing you on a furlough without pay.”

Burke said the shutdown means his family won’t have income indefinitely without pay.

“We’ve been living from paycheck to paycheck now,” said Burke, of St. Paul. “I’ve cut the newspaper services. We’re looking to cutting our phone service and just working with cell phones. I am looking for every way to cut every bill I can, just in case.”

A handful of furloughed workers joined union protesters outside the Bishop Whipple Federal Building in Minneapolis, which houses more than 600 workers who help veterans process benefit claims.

Stanley Walton helps homeless veterans find places to live.

“What is really disheartening is there are so many veterans out there that really need my services and the services that I provide through the VA that will now won’t get those services until the furlough is over,” he said.

With no end to the shutdown in sight, furloughed workers say they’re not sure when they’ll be back on the job — or whether they will ever get the back pay politicians are promising.

“I blame the Democrats just as much as the Republicans,” Burke said. “I come here and I am supposed to do a job. You know, if I did this, I would be fired. This is just ridiculous.”

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