Federal workers in Hawaii stressing over paychecks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Federal workers in Hawaii stressing over paychecks

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Pearl Harbor Shipyards are the largest industrial employer in the state but about two thirds of the 4,400 employees are furloughed. The other third are working and are stressing about their paychecks.

Ed Telles isn't afraid of hard work, but he would like to get paid for it.

"We were told that we'd be paid after everything settles," said Ed Telles, federal worker.

Telles has worked at the Pearl Harbor Intermediate Maintenance Facility as a rigger for 14 years. He has a wife and two young kids. He's deemed an essential employee. At the start of the government shutdown he was told he'd keep working, but wouldn't get paid.

"With the bills, we basically live paycheck to paycheck. We have just a little bit we're able to throw into savings and every little bit counts but it's still tight," said Telles.

However late this afternoon he got word he will get paid next Friday. After that, though, it remains unclear.

He still considers himself lucky because the nonessential employees are not working and have no guarantee of getting back pay. It's a big concern because federal workers can't run into credit problems.

"You jeopardize your security and you're no longer qualified to work as a federal employee especially in the shipyard where we need high clearances," said Don Bongo, Hawaii Federal Employees Metal Trades Council President. "People are calling us up and they are panicking. They are wondering when is this going to end. When is this madness going to end?"

Good question. He's expecting it to last another couple weeks.

So what do workers think of Congress?

"It's pretty lame," said Telles. "For the rest of the country it's unfair. They get to sit down and act like children when everyone else has to still get up and pay their bills and be adults and get to work."

There is a lot of uncertainty. The union is telling workers to file for unemployment. However those essential workers even though they are not getting paid cannot get those benefits.

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