CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The union representing 3,000 machinists and aerospace workers near Kennedy Space Center plans to rally Saturday to demand contractors furloughed in the government shutdown get back pay.
Kevin DiMeco, a representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 166, said the rally will coincide with free food distribution for families hit hard by not getting a paycheck.
"Our membership has already lost eight percent of their yearly salary," he said. "They want to work. Our people don’t want to sit home. They want to work and provide for their families and get their families everything they need. When something like this happens, and we’re pawns, it’s just not right."
The union rally will take place at the union hall at 271 Taylor St., Cape Canaveral.
Another food drive is taking place in Orlando to help federal workers.
People can drop off items for workers at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6850 Westwood Blvd., from 9 a.m. to noon.
Federal workers needing help can pick up items at the same location from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Still, there is a sense of relief among some federal workers that they will be getting paid again.
"I believe people are out celebrating," said Gloria Irizarry, co-owner of GG's Roots Restaurant in Port St. John.
She said her business had the busiest Friday night it's had since the government shutdown began in December.
Many of her customers, she said, are furloughed workers from Kennedy Space Center.
"It’s been rough," she said. "It’s been very slow. Lunch and dinner have been very slow."