‘It needs to end’: Federal workers in Hawaii scramble to make ends meet

Local workers pick-up side jobs, take out loans as government shut down drags on

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Inside Hawaii’s airports, it might seem like business as usual.

But for the hundreds of Transportation Security Administration workers working without pay, many are being pushed to their breaking point.

Rick Carr, of the American Federation of Government Employees, said payday is supposed to be Friday.

But as it stands, no one’s getting a check.

“A single mother of four is having her fifth child in February and she came to me and said I can’t pay my rent,” Carr said, adding those types of stories aren’t uncommon. Many TSA employees are the breadwinners in their families.

“Shutdowns in the past have not affected TSA’s pay. This will be the first one that will affect TSA’s pay," Carr said.

He says in addition to a 40-hour work week, some federal workers are picking up part-time jobs to make ends meet.

In the meantime, others are taking out loans. Some at high rates.

“These people don’t have the background or the credit to get a low interest loan,” said Carr. “They’re doing it to feed their children and they’re going to suffer afterwards.”

Tensions are also running high among staff at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

A union representative says he’s met with officers who’ve gone to the bank to ask for mortgage extensions.

“They have some programs. But on the other end there are some banks that do not.” said Dwayne Bautista.

“There’s a lot of emotions going on. It goes from confused to scared. It’s just kind of nerve-racking because at the end of the week we will not get a paycheck.”

At both agencies, the shutdown has also taken a toll on office morale.

“We’re just like everyone else. Just working families trying to get by,” said Bautista. “It needs to end.”

Carr added if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon, he expects resignations could start coming on Monday. He’s asking the community to call their representatives and urge them to end the shutdown.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.