Emergency response system to help furloughed federal workers


The United Way of Pennsylvania has teamed up with a labor union to launch a new emergency response system for federal workers who have gone a month with no income. 

Rick Bloomingdale is the president of Pennsylvania’s AFL-CIO. He says their organization is going out of their way to help federal workers, like TSA employees. 

“I think the average TSA makes 14, 15 dollars an hour, so when they miss a paycheck, they’re really struggling,” said 

The organization is visiting local food banks and teaming up with the United Way of Pennsylvania to launch a new emergency response system. 

“It’s a stressful time, and sometimes, people just need help to think through the possibilities that are available to them,” said Kristen Rotz, president of the United Way of Pennsylvania. 

The text code initiative was launched last week through the PA 211 system. Impacted workers can text “FEDSD” to 898211, and every day they will be given information about community resources they can use for assistance with things like food, utility bills, and housing. 

“So, for example, today we’re going to be pushing out information about banks who have said we are going to waive late fees or we’re going to be flexible with people who are impacted,” said Rotz. 

The text code will be active until the shutdown is over, which Rick Bloomingdale hopes is sooner rather than later. 

“We have to keep up the pressure on our elected officials to end the shutdown. Get folks paid. They shouldn’t be pawns in a political game,” said Bloomingdale.

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