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Press Release: NJ State AFL-CIO to Hold Public Awareness Event on One Month Anniversary of Government Shutdown

Sen. Menendez, Rep. Norcross Will Join Union Leaders to Rally for an End to Trump’s Disastrous Government Shutdown

Trenton, NJ— Federal employees from around the state will gather at Teamsters Local 331 in Egg Harbor City on Monday, January 21 to call for an end to Trump’s disastrous government shutdown. This grassroots event, hosted by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and three local federal worker unions, will feature several distinguished speakers, including Sen. Robert Menendez and Rep. Donald Norcross.

“Enough is enough. For a month, thousands of working families across New Jersey have been held hostage by the Trump Shutdown over a useless border wall the president promised Mexico would pay for,” Sen. Menendez said. “Donald Trump and the Republican leadership may not know the real people they’re hurting—or even care—but I do. They are proud public servants working without pay or anxious to get back to the jobs they love. They are our neighbors and friends, struggling to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. And not one of them is responsible for this mess.”

Monday's event will mark the one-month anniversary of Trump’s government shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history and has left more than 800,000 federal workers—including 5,000 in New Jersey—either on furlough or working without pay. According to Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, many of these workers live "paycheck to paycheck" and can no longer afford basic necessities such as rent, food, and medication.

“It’s reprehensible that the men and women who serve our country, who work tirelessly at our airports, our federal prisons, our borders, our post offices, and our national parks—among many other worksites and offices—are going home empty-handed,” Wowkanech said. “They deserve better, and it is our responsibility to make sure they are compensated for their dedicated service to our nation.”

Among those suffering are the employees of the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC), the nation’s premier air transportation system laboratory and southern New Jersey’s largest employer next to the casino industry. WJHTC unions include the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). During Monday’s event, WJHTC employees will speak out in an effort to shed light on how the shutdown has impacted their families and the WJHTC community.

“Every day that this senseless shutdown drags on, real families with very real bills are harmed and millions are denied the vital services they deserve,” Wowkanech said. “This shutdown is a direct attack on our unions, and working families will not allow our brothers and sisters to be used as political pawns. We are angry. We are loud. And we will be heard.”

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The New Jersey AFL-CIO works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. As a democratic, voluntary federation of 55 national and international labor unions, we represent more than one-million working men and women. Our work is anchored in making sure everyone who works for a living has family-supporting wages and benefits and the ability to retire with dignity.