Families of federal workers preparing for another possible government shutdown

Federal prison guard David Amos spends time with his two month old daughter Trinity. (WCHS/WVAH)

During the federal government shutdown at the beginning of the year, some federal prison employees had to go to work without receiving a paycheck. With another possible shutdown looming near, those prison workers in eastern Kentucky are getting ready, just in case.

Two-month-old Trinity Amos is perhaps one of the youngest victims of a shutdown. Her parents, David and Amy Amos, say she has to have a special formula costing $50 a week, and it's not covered by insurance. The couple are both prison guards at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, and after working 35 days with no paycheck they are getting ready for that to possibly happen again.

"We're looking at Friday with questions we don't know the answer to," Amos said.

He said when the first shutdown ended last month, many of his colleagues believed they had better prepare for the possibility of round two.

"It's just making as many cutbacks as you can," Amos said. "The first shutdown you go through whatever savings you got quickly and family that may have helped out. We haven't had time to build a savings back up."

Rick Brewer, president of Local 1286 Federal Prison Workers in Ashland, said the first check federal workers received after the shutdown ended was used by many to repair the damage that had been done.

"Your check when you first get them, you've got to make up what you didn't pay and then what you had whatever little bit extra is what you put back," Brewer said.

A group of six guards from Kentucky's federal prisons are in Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress to voice concerns over a possible shutdown and the impact.

"We are optimistic that hopefully it can be resolved soon but we are preparing as we speak," said Jerry Jackson, President of Local 612 Federal Prison Workers at the United States Penitentiary in Big Sandy.

Brewer said he does not think another shutdown will happen.

"They are just too far apart," Brewer said.

If the federal government shuts down again, Brewer says both political parties are to blame.

There are more than 600 federal workers at the two federal prisons in eastern Kentucky that would be impacted by another government shutdown.

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