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Thousands Of Local Workers Affected By Government Shutdown Threat

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U.S. Capitol Dome (Credit: AP)

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Updated 4/8/2011 at 9:00 p.m.

CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — There are tens of thousands of federal employees from various government agencies and departments in Chicago. If there is a government shutdown, a lot of them will be staying home.

Unless you’re a federal employee, you might not actually see much evidence of a government shutdown, Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports.

There are, of course, exceptions.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

If you’re waiting for a loan from the Small Business Administration., you’ll have to wait

The Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission will scale back operations.

Dorothy James, with the American Federation of Government Employees, says veterans could run into trouble with claims at the VA.

And Social Security checks might not make it to mailboxes.

James says most federal workers make less than $40,000 a year and they’re concerned about making ends meet.

“We are scapegoats in this, we are the easy mark in this,” union representative Brent Barron told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “The American public thinks the federal workers are overpaid and we don’t do a lot 0f work, but it’s contrary to that. We’re underpaid, and we do a lot of work.”

Federal employees left work Friday evening at Chicago’s Kluczynski Federal Building wondering whether they’d be back next week. Ruben Moreno, father of a 5-year-old daughter, said he’s been told to come in Monday morning for four hours.

“After that, we just go home and I’ll be going to the unemployment office,” he said.

Federal employee Irene Stamantakis took Congress and the White House to task.

“We elect these officials so they can work together and better us,” she said. “They’re not really bettering anybody right now.”

The Illinois National Guard isn’t waiting to find out what’s going to happen. Lt. Dutch Grove says they’ve postponed weekend exercises “so that we won’t have troops moving, only to have to end operations early and send everybody home.”

There are a couple thousand National Guardsmen who are considered full-time.

Some will be furloughed. Others are considered essential, and will have to work and get retro pay.

National Parks will be closed. The nearest one is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore near Chesterton, Ind.

Courts will be operating, and U.S. Customs and TSA workers will be on the job.

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