NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - As the government shutdown dragged on, union workers and immigrant advocates rallied in Staten Island on Thursday to support furloughed federal workers.
Sean Ghazala and Kathryn Gilsen are rangers with the National Park Service who work at Gateway National Recreation Area. They haven't been paid in almost two weeks and are worried about what will happen if the stalemate in Washington goes on and on.
Staten Island is also home to the largest Coast Guard sector in the country. Nationwide, 41,000 active duty members are working without pay.
The president is refusing to fund a quarter of the federal government unless Congress authorizes money for a proposed border wall that Democrats reject.
Trump has said the furloughed workers are on his side, but Gilsen said otherwise. She said she doesn't support the shutdown and doesn't know a single federal employee who does. And the president's declaring a national emergency to bypass congress isn't Ghazala's preferred way forward, either.
But until something changes, furloughed workers have little recourse. Gilsen said she and her coworkers are not allowed to seek secondary employment.
Federal employees can't come to work, can't get paid, can't get outside pay. But there is a backstop through the New York State Department of Labor. They can apply for unemployment insurance, but here is the catch: if they eventually get back pay, they would have to repay the state.