Federal Workers Angry, Scared, Want to Work: Kelley

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Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, comments on the U.S. government shutdown. She speaks with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Joins us from washington.

Good to have you with us.

Describe, if you can, what day one of the shutdown of the federal government means for your members.

It has been a very bad day for federal employees.

They are frustrated and scared and they want to return to work.

What has to happen in the congress in order to have that happen?

Congress has to vote to pass a cr to allow the agencies to return to work.

We believe sense every employee was sent home today, other than those excepted, every employee needs to return to work tomorrow.

Is that what you're telling your membership to do?

We are.

They are standing because those who were sent home today will not be paid, even if the government reopens tomorrow, unless there is an affirmative act of congress to pay them.

They want to be at work and they should be paid.

Give us background of you and your work at the union.

One of the groups you represent, 24,000 border protection guards.

We represent over 24,000 of them.

That agency is an exception to what is happening today.

Because so many of them are law enforcement, they are at work.

They are accepted so even though they have been ordered to work, they will not be paid until after the shutdown is over.

But most of them are working, 90%. all of those employees that support the officers have been sent home.

They are not there to support the officers at the ports of entry.

Colleen kelley you were an irs revenue agent.

What is the status of the internal revenue service?

The irs has sent home 85,000 employees.

Only about 10% are at work.

Many of them are law enforcement.

What that means for the irs and the public is that there is no one answering the phones when taxpayers called today looking for assistance to be compliant with their obligations.

When they go to the interest for help in filing returns or in paying taxes or in getting problems corrected, the doors are locked.

For the public it means no access to the irs even though october 15 is an extension filing date.

They will have to comply but the irs is not there to help them.

Until they are sent back to work.

Colleen kelley, how our federal workers being used as pawns in a battle between the white house and democrats and republicans in the house?

That is exactly what is happening.

Those who want to use the employees are as pawns are trying to use them as leverage on unrelated issues.

The question is, should the federal government be funded so it can operate?

So agencies can open their doors and serve the public and these employees can do their jobs?

That is what the question is.

The answer is yes, they shed.

They need to pass a continuing resolution.

If they have issues with other issues that are not related to this funding operation, and they need to address them separately.

It should not be tied into whether the government is operational.

What has been the reaction in your membership?

Are they going to do things on an individual basis?

Has been very disappointing and difficult for front-line employees.

They are, they live paycheck to paycheck, they have mortgages to pay and tuition.

And children to take care of.

They also had their pay frozen three years now.

Many of them have served unpaid furlough days because of the sequester.

So they are very frightened about how they will meet their financial obligations.

So they are contacting their members of congress.

They are letting their voices be heard, asking them to do the right thing and to reopen the government tomorrow.

And they are standing with us as we raise our voice asking that congress do the right thing.

Colleen kelley, have you had conversations with members of congress about the shutdown?

I have, on an ongoing basis,

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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