Local CDC employees speak out on government shutdown

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Some 300 employees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Cincinnati office are speaking out about the government shutdown.

Some of those furloughed workers staged a picket today to send a message to congress.

The parking lot at CDC headquarters in Pleasant Ridge is nearly empty that's because nearly 300 government employees have been furloughed and those workers say that puts America's health and safety at risk.

Donna Pfirman is with the American Federation of Government Employees local 3840 which represents CDC workers.

"It has people not able to respond to things that are happening in the workplace like the salmonella poisoning that's out there among 18 states," said Pfirman.

While some CDC workers have been called back to the Atlanta headquarters because of the salmonella outbreak, AFGE local 3840 President, Diane Wormus says functions carried out by the CDC's Cincinnati office aren't getting done.

"The flu shot program is being affected. That's important right now. There are other agencies that are being affected within CDC," says Wormus. "We do worker safety and health here. We investigate worker safety and health so anything having to do with worker safety and health is being affected."

Pfirman says the furlough also is taking a personal toll on the workers.

"A lot of us live paycheck to paycheck so this is very difficult for us. We're not going to be able to pay our bills, we're not going to be able to meet those things - we can't go and get another job because we're still considered government employees."

Wormus says the government shutdown is putting the finances of federal workers at risk.

"People are going to start getting to hurt their credit rating because they can't pay their bills, they can't pay their mortgages, their rent, their credit cards, their car payments. Day to day living expenses that people normally pay," explains Wormus.

The CDC employees have a simple message for congress. "Get us back to work. Pay the bills, let's move on."

The CDC workers were getting a lot of support from passing motorists, but what they really want is for congress to pass a continuing resolution so they can get back to work.

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