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Idled NASA workers speak out against shutdown

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Furloughed NASA employees will protest the government shutdown on Tuesday morning, outside the Johnson Space Center.

The demonstration was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2284. It's intended to shame Congress into approving a budget and ending the shutdown so locked-out federal workers can return to the job.

The vast majority of JSC's employees are considered non-essential and therefore subject to the furlough, which began on October 1.

"We have about 100 employees out of 3100 that's working," explained NASA employee (and union president) Bridget Broussard-Guidry, "and they're mostly in Mission Control, supporting the mission or Space Station."

After two weeks of no work, Broussard-Guidry says she's personally had to start dipping into savings to pay the bills.

Fellow NASA employee Amanda Caldwell-Boyce has begun looking for a part-time job.

"You lay down at night," Caldwell-Boyce said, "hoping, wishing, praying that overnight a decision has been made and they'll call you in the morning."

So far, that call has not come.

"Thankfully I'm insulated somewhat," added Darrell Johnson, a procurement official at the Johnson Space Center. "But I can't go forever like this. I need my paycheck, I need my job, I'm ready to do it for the American people."

Johnson is responsible for overseeing contractors like the landscapers who normally keep the JSC entrance well-maintained. Thanks to the shutdown, the grass is now a foot high and the hedges are overgrown.

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