by: Graham Johnson Updated:
JLBM, Wash. - The impact of the federal government shutdown is being felt around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where as many as 10,000 civilian defense workers are on furlough.
After reporting for work and receiving furlough paperwork Tuesday, several workers from Madigan Army Medical Center joined a union-organized protest outside the gates at JBLM.
Zonia Smith works as a hospital accountant and is now facing her second furlough this year. She already lost six days of work during sequestration.
She's irritated with Congress.
"They are out of touch with reality. They don't realize how their decisions affect the little people," Smith said.
Biomedical technician Kevin Eaves, also now furloughed, agreed.
"I have no confidence in my legislative leaders in Washington. They need to work together to get something done. They're not doing that," Eaves said.
Government paychecks are a major driver of the economy in places like DuPont, where Patrick Lewis says 95 percent of the lunch crowd at his restaurant, Farrelli's Wood Fire Pizza, works at JBLM.
Lewis says even if the shutdown lasts only a few days, the pain on personal finances will drag on longer. "One day of shutdown turns into two to three to five days of not spending," he said.
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