MONTCLAIR, NJ - Sen. Robert Menendez held a press conference at Montclair Bread Company, located on Label Street, on Friday. The purpose, was to hear the challenges faced by those affected by the ongoing Federal Government shutdown.
The small group of unpaid federal workers shared their individual stories on how they are dealing with the shutdown.
"I've been making calls to food banks and looking for donations of diapers and baby formula for my staff," Rod Coeppen said. "I shouldn't have to be getting public assistance for a guy who should be getting a paycheck."
Coeppen is a supervisor at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution.
Other people in attendance included: several mothers of Coast Guard members, Internal Revenue Service Employees, an air traffic controller, employees/officers of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Department of Agriculture.
According to published reports, in New Jersey, at least 5000 federal government workers are currently without pay resulting from the shutdown. Also according to reports, many of these workers include U.S. Coast Guard, Internal Revenue Service Workers, Environmental Protection Agency workers, Air Traffic Controllers, Correction Officers, and the Federal Department of Agriculture employees.
Menendez expressed that he was going to make an effort to reach out to financial institutions, to not penalize federal employees for delays in payment resulting from the shutdown.
The Montclair Bread Company is among one of the local businesses that has pledged support of federal workers during the shutdown. They are giving a free cup of coffee and a snack and bread to federal workers.
A shutdown social is set to take place on Tuesday, January 22 at Toni's Kitchen in Montclair from 5-8pm. RSVP is preferred. The gathering is designed to provide federal employees and their families with a hot meal and some groceries.