NASA Ames furloughed employees struggling amid federal government shutdown

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MOUNTAIN VIEW (KRON) — The NASA-Ames Federal Employees Union booked a room at the Ramada Inn on Thursday where furloughed civil servants lined up for a timely rebate on their union dues.

Checks were cut for $100 dollars to help agreements manager Brendan Sanborn pay for gas and groceries.

“I live in the Bay Area supporting a wife and two kids and paying bills and buying groceries is next to impossible right now,” said Sanborn, a furloughed NASA Ames employee.

Sanborn and the other furloughed civil servants, most of whom hold administrative and other research-related jobs at NASA Ames, could also get help applying for emergency shutdown loans or with filing unemployment insurance paperwork. It’s a very stressful time, says shop steward Jenette Rocha.

“I have heard about members having trouble paying their bills and putting food on the table,” said Rocha, with the federal employee union. “Some have children with special needs or sick husbands like me and even a hundred dollars can help with a cell phone bill.”

Rocha says the shutdown is also having an impact on contractors, many of whom are going unpaid.

Lost time and getting back up to speed when the shutdown ends will have consequences and morale is very low among the rank and file says research scientist Joel Lachter.

“I don’t know when I’m going back, we have meetings we’re supposed to be holding, I am supposed to fly out to Goddard next week and now I think that will be canceled,” said Lachter.

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