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Federal Worker Union Sues Trump Over Shutdown

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) sued the Trump administration Monday for “essential” government employees being “forced” to work without pay.

Many federal employees designated as “essential” personnel are working through the government shutdown but may miss regular paychecks until Congress and President Donald Trump agree on a spending package.

The AFGE suit, brought on behalf of two federal prison workers, asserts that “forcing” federal employees to work through the shutdown without regular paychecks is “inhumane” and illegal.

“Approximately 420,000 federal employees are continuing to work, but don’t know when they will get their next paychecks,” Heidi Burakiewicz, a partner at the law firm of Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch, said in a statement. “These employees still need to pay childcare expenses, buy gas, and incur other expenses to go to work every day and yet, they are not getting paid. It is a blatant violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch is the law firm representing AFGE.

The federal government went into a partial shutdown on Dec. 22, 2018, and has continued into the new year. Republicans and Democrats are fighting over funding for Trump’s $5.7 billion wall along the border with Mexico, which the president says is necessary to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is leading the Democratic resistance to funding the border wall, has called Trump’s proposal “expensive and ineffective” and promised to kill and bill that would fund it.

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