83°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Federal workers in Las Vegas feel effects of government shutdown

Many federal employees in Las Vegas are feeling the pain of the partial government shutdown, as they continue to work without pay.

Julia Peters, a Transportation Security Administration officer, is among the essential government workers required to continue to work without pay.

Since the shutdown, she has tried to cut down on driving, canceled her DirecTV service and applied for assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Peters said.

“I’m 51 years old, and I’m getting food stamps,” she said.

The shutdown is starting to strain the national aviation system, with unpaid security screeners staying home, air-traffic controllers suing the government and safety inspectors off the job.

Miami International, the nation’s 25th-busiest airport, plans to close off Concourse G at 1 p.m. for the next three days and shift a dozen flights a day to other terminals.

“Our wait times have been normal and operations have been smooth so far, but the partial closure is being done in an abundance of caution,” airport spokesman Greg Chin said Friday.

Other major airports surveyed by The Associated Press said they had no immediate plans to close terminals or take other drastic measures.

More than 3,000 federal workers in Nevada will see their paychecks affected as a result of the shutdown, according to a statement issued Friday by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen. She and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto met with several Nevada federal workers — including Peters and other TSA and National Park Service staff — on Friday morning to learn how they were being affected by the shutdown.

Peters’s co-worker and fellow TSA officer, Ellen Jackson, 59, said she is driving full-time for a ride-share company to make ends meet during the shutdown.

“I don’t want to borrow any money,” said Jackson, an Air Force veteran who said she makes about $38,000 annually. “I don’t want to get into a deeper hole.”

Maintenance and custodial employees at the federal courthouse in Nevada were also among the 800,000 employees nationally who worked without pay Friday.

A man who said he works for the Social Security Administration at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse has not experienced cuts to his pay under the department’s contingency plan set forth in September, but maintenance employees in the building have complained to him about working for free. Maintenance, custodial and other property management work in the building is carried out by the General Services Administration, or GSA.

“They’re upset. I would be upset,” said the worker, who gave only his first name, Jeff, on Friday. “You work and don’t get paid? Yeah, they’re upset about it.”

Other courthouse employees, including security and federal court workers, were not affected.

“Judiciary employees are reporting to work and currently are in full-pay status,” U.S. Courts wrote in a statement on Monday. The federal judiciary has enough money from court fees and other funds to pay its employees through Jan. 18.

Chief District Judge Gloria Navarro wrote in an order last month that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada “has a constitutional duty to continue to hear and resolve cases, even during a period of government shutdown.”

To perform that duty, judges rely on their personal staff and court employees to perform functions necessary for the continued resolution of cases, Navarro wrote in the Dec. 22 order, which appears on the court’s website. All staff, officers and employees of the court were ordered to report to work during their normally scheduled hours until further notice.

Security guards at the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, the Foley Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse were also unaffected, because they work under private contracts, they said.

One downtown Las Vegas restaurant, however, has seen business wane since the shutdown.

A waiter at La Comida, a Mexican restaurant at 100 S. Sixth St., said Friday that the regular lunch crowd has thinned over the last two weeks. Many tables were empty about 1 p.m. Friday. About 30 people sat inside and on the restaurant’s patio.

“It’s just affecting this business because we don’t see the regulars we used to have for lunch,” Cesar Gutierrez said Friday afternoon.

Court and government office employees normally make up about 60 percent of the restaurant’s lunch customers, Gutierrez said. He has noticed fewer patrons dressed in suits and attributes the lull in lunchtime business to the shutdown.

“It’s just not the same people,” he said. “The numbers are coming down. It’s not the way it used to be. … It’s hurting us. I bet the neighbors are getting hurt, too.”

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@reviewjournal.com. Follow @lauxkimber on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
THE LATEST