Thousands in Conn. Off the Job After Shutdown - NBC Connecticut

Thousands in Conn. Off the Job After Shutdown



    Its day two of the government shutdown and 9000 federal employees are still off the job (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013)

    It's day two of the government shutdown and 9,000 federal employees are still off the job.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 300 have applied for unemployment benefits with the state Department of Labor.

    "It has increased and it has actually doubled our intake of claims from last week, even at this time," said Judi Luther of the Connecticut Department of Labor.

    The DOL received 150 claims on Tuesday and 150 more on Wednesday.

    On an average day, the department will receive just 10 federal unemployment claims.

    "Our units, our call centers have set up a team of specialized individuals to process these claims," said Luther. "We have dedicated staff."

    Among those who have been furloughed are 540 civilian employees from the Connecticut National Guard.

    "Little bit of frustration to be quite honest," said Col. John Whitford.

    A training exercise scheduled for this weekend was delayed because of the shutdown.

    "We just have to make some adjustments," said Whitford. "We will look at further units and further drill weekends in the month of October."

    State emergency operations will not be impacted.

    But those who serve the state's most vulnerable are also feeling the effects.

    "They are becoming collateral damage in a war that is not of their making," said Nancy Pappas of the Community Renewal Team, a Hartford-based organization designed to serve seniors, children and veterans.

    The CRT runs 60 programs, 40 of them receive federal funds including a program for homeless vets.

    "They have officially informed us that until the government shutdown is over, all the funds will be held back," said Pappas.

    All the money the CRT spends on rent, utility and medical costs for the veterans' home in East Hartford is reimbursed by the federal government.

    "For now we are keeping the programs going but we certainly don't have the money to keep them going indefinitely," said Pappas.

    State agencies have submitted contingency plans, but right now, most are operating as usual.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy warned that the longer the shutdown continues, the worse it will be for the state's economy.

    "There are 9,000 employees in the state," said Malloy. "They're already being furloughed. That's going to have an impact on our revenue and services being provided."

    On Wednesday afternoon, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced plans to furlough 2,000 employees starting Oct. 7, a number that will only increase if the shutdown continues.