Federal workers in Minnesota hit by shutdown

Union vice president Jane Nygaard made posters for a rally of furloughed federal employees (MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik)

Jane Nygaard is at ground zero of the government shutdown.

Nygaard is the national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees 8th District, the largest union of federal employees in Minnesota.  She represents workers in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

On Tuesday morning she was still trying to figure out exactly how many of the 18,000 to 19,000 federal workers in Minnesota will be furloughed and how many will continue working for a promise of pay once the shutdown is over.  She was also making signs at her Bloomington office for a series of union rallies set for today.

Federal workers are furious about the shutdown, Nygaard said, which they consider “ridiculous and unnecessary.”

She said they blame some Republicans who are obsessed with dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

“This is all about not funding the Affordable Care Act, and when you look at what’s happened here this didn’t pass just yesterday. This has been in the works for over a year. If somebody wanted a change why didn’t they come forward with some type of proposal that people could work on?”