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Union rep: 'A very big sigh of relief' after shutdown agreement reached

Focus shifts to getting workers paid
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 18:51:23-05

CLEVELAND — Just hours after he helped lead a picket warning air travelers of safety concerns caused by the government shutdown, a representative for the union representing hundreds of federal employees at Cleveland Hopkins Airport said he was relieved a deal was in place to re-open the federal government.

"Hopefully 21 days will be enough to move forward and iron out differences and perhaps come to some overall reform on the issues that we were told this was all about," said David Sheagley, Legislative and Political Organizer for the American Federation of Government Employees.

Sheagley believes warnings about air safety concerns and a temporary shutdown of LaGuardia Airport in New York Friday, blamed on a shortage of air traffic controllers, helped end the 35-day partial shutdown which furloughed some FAA safety inspectors and forced air traffic controllers and TSA agents to work even though it wasn't clear when the government would re-open and they would get paid – something Sheagley says caused stress on workers.

"Just not being sure about food, not being sure about how to pay those Christmas bills that inevitably we all rack-up during that season," said Sheagley. "I'm sure this is great relief. Now the anticipation is how quickly can the federal government get those paychecks that have already been earned into the hands of those workers?"

Sheagley hopes workers can be paid within a few days. He says the union will also support legislation that would outlaw future government shutdowns.