Tensions mount at West Virginia’s federal prisons amid govt. shutdown

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BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) Tensions were mounting at West Virginia’s federal prisons on Wednesday as President Donald Trump warned the partial government shutdown “could last a long time.”

Officers at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Beckley have not received a paycheck since last Saturday and will not receive another one until the partial shutdown ends.

Kevin Franco, an employee at FCI Beckley and the union rep. for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), said employees are still required to come to work. But if working without a paycheck were not difficult enough, he said the Trump administration cut more than 25 officers last year — a move that led to most employees at the prison regularly working overtime and in many cases, 16-hour shifts.

Franco raised concerns on Wednesday on the impact of the impasse for employees who run out of money.

“The biggest concern is that employees still have child care issues. They still have to pay for gas. They still have to pay for a vehicle to get to work. If the government doesn’t re-open, they won’t even have minimum wage. They obviously have the same bills that everybody in the community has. This is going to be an issue if it goes much further than it’s currently gone.”

Since the reduction in workforce last year, Franco said the prison has not been able to rehire the more than 20 officers who retired due to the hiring freeze.

Annie Moore

Annie Moore

Multimedia Journalist

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