(Bloomberg) -- In Chicago, federal workers calling for an end to the shutdown were joined Friday by Democratic Congress members, including freshman U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood, who won a surprise victory in a historically Republican suburban district in November.
“As Democrats, we believe in border security, but we want to have a conversation and not have the federal government be held hostage to those negotiations,” Underwood told roughly 100 people gathered in Chicago’s federal plaza on a frigid afternoon.
The crowd responded with chants of “End the shutdown now!” “Furlough Trump!” and “Where is Mitch?” referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican.
Fellow freshman Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, along with Representatives Danny Davis, Bill Foster and Jan Schakowsky, also delivered short speeches.
The event was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees District 7 chapter, which represents employees in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin working for the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Prisons, Transportation Security Administration and other departments.
Steve Faryan, an emergency response worker who’s been at EPA for 33 years, said he’d just filed retirement papers the day the shutdown took effect. He said the shutdown leaves him in limbo because the paperwork hasn’t been processed.
Faryan said he’s in better shape than some colleagues because he’d already started saving for retirement. For them, he said, “it’s devastating.”
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