Some 800,000 Americans who work for the federal government are closing in on a month of going without pay. And that is not good news for this country. As it stands, the U.S. government currently owes federal workers some $5 billion in back wages.

The effect of the federal furlough reaches far beyond these government workers, however. There are hundreds of thousands of federal contractors – many of whom are low-wage workers in the service sector – who aren’t getting paid and won’t be reimbursed for lost wages.

The economic loss due to the shutdown has been tremendous, and it is getting worse. While the impacts on the nation level are being felt, it is also hurting neighborhood carry outs and other shops that are losing business now that these workers aren’t around. Given the current stalemate between Congress and the White House, that won’t improve anytime soon.
The Teamsters joined with other unions at the rally in Washington to demand that elected officials make sure these workers return to work soon. And it may only be the start of federal workers flexing their muscles to demand change. Remember, more than half of the federal workers not being paid now are being forced to work. Last Friday, they brought home paychecks that showed they earned zero dollars. How long are they supposed to put up with such treatment?