Local federal government employees filing for unemployment benefits

Transportation Security Administration officer Joshua McCall dances off with children at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Instagram)
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Most government employees would get paid Friday, but with the partial government shutdown, those checks won't be delivered.

“Morale is down a bit. Earnings statements came out today. It's demoralizing to see zero in an earnings statement,” said Mike Weekley.

Weekley is an air traffic controller in Columbus and the head of the local branch of National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

“You could feel the somber moment. It was a distraction, a lot of talk,” Weekley described the mood at work.

He's been through shutdowns before but never expected it to last this long.

“No, I didn't. Twelve years in the FAA I didn't think I'd have to dig into my savings account over a dispute,” Weekley said.

He has not applied for unemployment insurance, but some federal workers have, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

So far more than 500 federal employees have filed unemployment claims. If they receive benefits, once the government shut-downs ends, and they receive their back-pay, they will have to pay back the unemployment.

“You would never think you would have to revert to unemployment,” Weekley said.

Weekley says he's not going to take sides but says it's frustrating to hear lawmakers argue while he and his coworkers are stuck in the middle, with no paycheck.

“Most of what I heard today is that the shutdown needs to end. Our paychecks have nothing to do with the issue at hand, yet we are being held as political pawns in the middle of it,” Weekley said.