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Federal Workers Protest Possible Government Shutdown

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Government workers demonstrating in Federal Plaza. (Credit: Steve Miller

Government workers demonstrating in Federal Plaza. (Credit: Steve Miller

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — About six dozen federal workers demonstrated in the Loop this afternoon against a possible government shutdown.

For the past 30 years, Joseph Love has worked for the government. His job is at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For him, the shutdown comes down to one thing.

“The only reason why they’re doing that – I hate to say this – just because Obama is black. That’s all it is – the Republicans – that’s all it is,” said Love.

Chris Black works for the U.S. EPA and he says a shutdown would do more than just furlough workers. The jobs they do would be put on hold.

“I’m involved in ongoing cleanups at different hazardous waste sites. They’re long-term cleanup projects and they’re going to be delayed,” said Black.

Many of the 55,000 federal workers in Chicago are clustered downtown, and the effects would be felt immediately, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

Passports and visas won’t be processed, and neither will gun permits. Forget about getting a mortgage approved, or a student loan. National parks and monuments will shut down, and so will Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Standard services from Environmental Protection Agency workers will disappear.

“We won’t have people inspecting wastewater treatment plants or sewage treatment plants, drinking water plants. We won’t have people out there checking the water quality,” John O’Grady, AFGE Local 704, says.

The military will still be on guard, at Great Lakes Naval Training Station and elsewhere, but most civilians will be sent home.

State employees whose salaries are paid by federal funds — including those in Veterans’ Affairs, Military Affairs and Illinois Emergency Management Agency — could see temporary layoffs as early as Wednesday if the shutdown proceeds, said Abdon Pallasch, Gov. Pat Quinn’s assistant budget director.

His office had no estimates on how many employees would be affected. The last time there was a shutdown in 1995, the state issued roughly 1,200 temporary layoffs.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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