Government employees miss first paycheck, local groups step up to help

Local groups step up to help government workers

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On Capitol Hill, there is continued gridlock (apart from a vote to promise retroactive pay for government employees working without it during the shutdown).

The sticking point is $5 billion dollars for a border wall.

In Louisville, essential employees are still reporting to work, despite not receiving their first paycheck of 2019.

Positions with air traffic control and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) must go to work--or workers risk not receiving back pay.

The unpaid government employees still have the financial burden of life’s necessities: Food, shelter...and bills.

Some local groups were trying to lessen that stress Friday.

At Louisville International Airport, the responsibility of flight security rests on a group of employees who are working without pay.

In a kitchen not far away, another group prepared food with those employees in mind.

“I would be hard pressed to not get a paycheck and still show up in to work every day and do my job to the highest level, like they do,” Kevin Ashworth, Culinary Director of Edward Lee Louisville Restaurants, said.

Empathy could be felt in the kitchen at Whiskey Dry as Ashworth and other employees prepared lunch for local TSA agents.

Whiskey Dry employees prepared lunch for local TSA agents in Louisville International Airport.
Whiskey Dry employees prepared lunch for local TSA agents in Louisville International Airport.

“The TSA agents are the unsung heroes,” Ashworth said. “They are out there not getting paid, but are still protecting us."

Chef Edward Lee said lunch for the Louisville agents was a last minute decision he made while traveling through the city.

“They [the government employees] didn’t do anything wrong, and that is just not okay,” Lee said. “What I think is so special about Louisville is that we care about our community, and we care about the people. If I can do this small gesture to help them, then that’s part of my responsibility.”

Lee said he is willing to do the lunch again, and hopes it inspires other businesses to step up.

Both Duke Energy and LG&E are offering options to those government employees who are unable to pay their energy bills during the shutdown.

The staff at Whiskey Dry said it’s nice to see empathy catching on.

“It’s times like these that we need to work together and stay positive,” Ashworth said.

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