Judge denies injunction in shutdown case

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Between Dec. 21 - the last day before the shutdown started - and January 10, some 1,900 OR workers filed unemployment claims.

"It's hard not to empathize" with federal workers during the government shutdown, Leon said.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday refused to order the federal government to pay federal workers on the job during the partial government shutdown, which has recently become the longest shutdown in US history. NTEU has also filed a separate suit claiming that the shutdown violates federal labor law.

The department says federal employees who aren't working during the partial government shutdown are eligible to claim unemployment aid.

Federal workers required to work without pay are not eligible.

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"The big issue we're seeing is federal workers who are required to work but aren't being paid can not receive these benefits", he said. The maximum unemployment benefit is $350 per week.

"We are working under the knowledge that they are furloughed", he said.

Since the closing of a quarter of the federal government on December 22, the White House and the Democratic congressional leaders have held several rounds of negotiations over border security and wall funding, the sticking point in the shutdown, but appeared to get no closer to solving the budget impasse. Another 380,000 are not at work and not being paid. "We will ask for pay stubs and W2s to help determine an unemployment benefit amount". The sticking point in this shutdown is the more than $5 billion in border-wall funding that President Trump has requested.

"I don't think these federal employees can solicit gifts or donations, when they say that they're federal employees", Martin said.

Kathy Catanzaro, an administrator at Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, said she is seeing the same thing: "People are a little bit apprehensive about filing because they know they'll have to pay it back once they're paid and get back to work".

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Leon acknowledged the hard position in which the shutdown has placed federal workers, who started missing paychecks last week, but said he could not grant the relief they were after.

Throughout the shutdown, another complicating factor for DES has been its small staff's capacity to handle a surge of unemployment claims from the shutdown as well as the lingering impacts of Hurricane Florence.

When furloughed EPA workers in Kansas City, Kansas, applied for unemployment benefits, they hit a snag, said Sarah Watterson, an EPA worker and president of AFGE Local 907. Some of those numbers have shifted in the past week as agencies such as the IRS have called tens of thousands back to work.

The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, State, Transportation, Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency are the major agencies affected by the shutdown.

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