One week into the government shutdown, 148 more federal employees in Minnesota were sent home on furlough Tuesday.
Some union workers marked the day with a round of informational picketing outside the Whipple Federal Building in south Minneapolis, where they carried homemade signs and vented their frustration in loose delivery of a military cadence.
"I don't know but I've been told. I don't know but I've been told," they chanted. "The shutdown's getting mighty old. The shutdown's getting mighty old."
Among them was 54-year old Jeff Burke, of Minneapolis. Absent the shutdown, he would have been inside the Whipple building processing veterans' debt waiver claims.
Burke was sent home along with 147 coworkers. His wife also went home on furlough. In an instant, the Burkes and their two high-school-age kids went from a two-income to a no-income family.
"We're cutting our phone and honest to God we cut our newspaper service," Jeff Burke said. "I live from paycheck to paycheck. I have a mortgage to pay. I have children to support. I have a family, and now I'm looking for everything I can cut possibly."
The workers hope demonstrations like today's and one yesterday in downtown Minneapolis -- and others around the nation -- pressure Republican House Speaker John Boehner to allow the House to vote on a resolution to fund the government that does include conditions, such as defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats claim that between themselves and 20 or so Republicans there are enough votes to pass it.
Federal officials say furloughed workers will be paid when the shutdown ends. But Burke said he'll believe that when he sees it. He has no time for any suggestion that federal workers have no reason to complain because they're essentially on a paid vacation.
"You know, everybody thinks, 'oh, those government employees are going to get paid,' " he said. "They don't understand the stress and the kinds of things it puts us through."
At a rally on Sunday, Vicky Sirovy, president local 1969 American Federation of Government Employees, called on more people to demand that Congress end the shutdown.
“This is a hardship on families... You know most young families live paycheck to paycheck and now they don't know when that paycheck's going to be.”Denise Welte of Rochester
"When you don't make that phone call, they don't think it's important," Sirovy said. "When someone asked me, 'Where's your paycheck coming from and what am I doing as a union president? I say, 'Did you call your representative today? Did you tell them that we don't want to be shut down?'"
Attending both of the Minneapolis "end the shutdown" gatherings was Denise Welte, of Rochester. Her daughter and son-in-law are both working in federal corrections facilities without pay.
"This is a hardship on families," Welte said. "You know most young families live paycheck to paycheck and now they don't know when that paycheck's going to be."
Welte thinks support for ending the shutdown is building among the American people. She said everyone is affected by the furloughs and mandated work without pay.
"When people aren't being paid, they're not shopping, they're not going out to eat, they're not visiting their local businesses," Welte said. "It hurts everybody as a whole."
Some workers are particularly vulnerable said Stanley Walton, another Veterans Service Center employee.
Even though he likely will manage fine for a while, Walton said for others that's not the case. He said some furloughed workers already have had to ask extended family members for loans.
"My biggest concern is over some people that are lower on the pay-scale than I am that didn't have an opportunity to save money," Walton said. "So they are really going to be hurting pretty bad."