Bellevue Bulletin 01/18/2019: The Low-Down on the Shutdown
Happy Friday! Here’s what’s happening in Philadelphia:
We’re in week three of the federal government shutdown, one that has made history as the longest the country has ever seen, and it’s affecting Americans all over the country, especially those in our home city of Philadelphia.
Across the United States, airports have been significantly impacted by the shutdown – both Boston and Atlanta have closed TSA security checkpoints due to high numbers of employees calling out “sick”, as they’re working without any pay, for now the third week in a row. Airline unions have sent a letter on to Washington pleading for an end to the shutdown – to no avail. While we may not be seeing major issues yet in the Philadelphia airport, we know that our own international hub will be starting to see problems.
Federal worker unions in Philadelphia and beyond, including NATCA have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration claiming unconstitutionality in being forced to work without pay. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled against the workers. Most of the 80 NATCA members who are employed at the Philadelphia International Airport are working without pay, and four have been furloughed, according to the Daily Inquirer.
During this shutdown, little things have been adding up and making life less than simple for many Philadelphians. This week, recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or, SNAP benefits, were told that their benefits for the entire month of February will be transferred early to their EBT cards, with no additional funding coming forth in February. There 1.8 million Pennsylvanians who receive SNAP benefits, and nearly half a million of those Pennsylvanians reside in Philadelphia.
While the bad news is abundant, Philadelphia is doing all it can to help its’ residents at this time. Philadelphia and national companies and institutions are popping up with services to help the 800,000 federal employees who are living without paychecks. Philadelphia’s museums were the first to start this trend, according to PhillyVoice, by offering free admission to federal workers. Even as some federal employees are being asked to return to work without any pay, other companies like the YMCA are offering free monthly memberships and trying to get food out to those in need.
Hopefully this trend of brotherly love will continue in the city, and meanwhile, the federal government will get closer to reopening.
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