United Way PA and Labor Movement to give furloughed employees text updates on services offered

Local News

With no end in sight for the government shutdown, 800,000 government employees are set to miss a second paycheck, putting a real financial strain on those workers and their families.  Now, some groups are doing what they can to help.

Last week, the United Way of Pennsylvania teamed up with Pennsylvania’s Labor Movement to launch a new emergency response system for those federal workers who have now gone a month without any income.

Across the country, thousands of federal employees, like TSA workers, haven’t seen a paycheck in over a month.  

President of PA AFL-CIO, Rick Bloomingdale, says, “I think the average TSA makes 14, 15 dollars an hour. So, when they miss a paycheck, they’re really struggling.”

Which is why Pennsylvania’s AFL-CIO is going out of their way to help, from visiting local food banks, “To help pack up boxes for federal employees,” to now teaming up with the United Way of Pennsylvania to launch a new emergency response system.

The text code initiative was launched last week through the PA 2-1-1 system. 

Impacted workers can text ‘FEDSD’ to 898-211 and every day, they will be given information about community resources they can use for assistance with things like food, utility bills, and housing.

Kristen Rotz, President of PA United Way, says, “So, for example, today we’re going to be pushing out information about banks who have said we are going to waive late fees or we’re going to be flexible with people who are impacted as they’ve experienced the launch of a paycheck.”

The text code will be active until the shutdown is over, which Bloomingdale hopes is sooner rather than later.  “We have to keep up the pressure on our elected officials to end the shutdown. Get folks paid. They shouldn’t be pawns in a political game.”

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