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Federal Workers In Mass. Are Uneasy About The Short-Term Deal To End Shutdown04:09
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Internal Revenue Service employees display placards during a rally by federal employees and supporters on Jan. 17 in front of the State House in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)
Internal Revenue Service employees display placards during a rally by federal employees and supporters on Jan. 17 in front of the State House in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)
This article is more than 2 years old.

Federal employees in Massachusetts had mixed reactions Friday to news of the deal to end the longest partial government shutdown in history.

The proposal, backed by President Trump and congressional leaders, would fund the government for just a few weeks, through Feb. 15. It does not include funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump had sought.

Sajid Shahriar, who works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Boston, told WBUR that workers are eager to get back to work but still wonder when they are going to get paid. (Federal workers who have been working without pay or are furloughed are set to receive back pay.)

"I'm not ready to celebrate yet," he said. "If it's only a three-week continuing resolution it's possible we will have to go through this again and I want to make sure that doesn't happen because the consequences have been pretty devastating."

Shahriar says he'll be six months behind on his workload when he does get back to work.

IRS employee and local union president Greg Gilman also has mixed feelings.

"Obviously I would prefer a permanent solution and I would prefer that my government not lurch from shutdown to shutdown," he said, "but at the very least I'm glad the government is opening and that the parties are agreeing to talk."

Gilman also says he wants details on when workers will get paid.

"I'm upbeat about the prospects of getting paid and at least for three weeks having a little stability," said David Martinez, of Townsend, who works for the Bureau of Prisons. But, he said, "I'm a little weary because they didn't fully address it and in a few weeks it might come back."

Martinez is urging members of Congress to change the law so that essential workers who must work during a shutdown get paid throughout.

There are tens of thousands of federal workers in Massachusetts, and more than 7,000 have been affected by the shutdown, according to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's office.

With reporting by WBUR's Newscast Unit. Click the audio player next to this story's headline to hear our full conversation with Sajid Shahriar.

This segment aired on January 25, 2019.

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