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Federal Workers Protest Government Shutdown in Morgantown
Written by Jared Pelletier
Last updated on October 10, 2013 @ 7:19PM
Created on October 10, 2013 @ 4:59PM

Drivers were honking their car horns as a sign of support for more than a dozen federal government employees protesting the government shutdown on Thursday morning in Morgantown.

Roughly 400 employees from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are out of work. They have a clear message for government officials, they want to get back to work.

Melissa Yancheski helped plan the rally. She said, "We want to go back to work. We were forced out of our jobs because of the government shutdown."

There are approximately 23,000 federal employees in West Virginia who are currently out of a job. Some are saying as bills begin to pile up their anxiety increases.

"I've had to tap into my savings to pay my mortgage and other bills are becoming due. I don't get to pick and choose which ones I get to pay," said Tom Bobick.

NIOSH employees conduct research to help improve safety and health for workers in all types of career fields. Some rallied together only hundreds of feet away from where they've been locked out of.

During the last shutdown in 1995, NIOSH Union President Cathy Tinney-Zara and her daughter Kendra stood side by side on the picket line. On Thursday, they returned to the picket line once again. Neither one of them thought they'd be there again.

"I thought everyone learned their lesson back then and this would never happen again," said Tinney-Zara.

Kendra Zara said, "It's not the same when she's not at work. She enjoys her job, she loves working and helping people."

West Virginia Democrat State Senator Bob Beach also attended the rally. He stood alongside the people he represents and said it's time for politicians in Washington, D.C. to get the message.

"It's time to take some responsible action. Sit down at the table, have some negotiations and get these folks back to work," said Beach.

If nothing changes by next week NIOSH employees continue protesting until the voices of all furloughed workers are heard.


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