Keith Polite Not Only Isn't Getting Paid Right Now, He Won't Get Reimbursed For Time Lost When Government Reopens


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The government shutdown is affecting federal workers and contractors who are trying to get by without their paychecks.

And some will not even get back pay.

On Sunday, CBS2’s Reena Roy sat down with a Manhattan museum worker, who spoke about how hard daily life has been.

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Keith Polite of Williamsburg is struggling to make ends meet. He told CBS2 he has no choice but to have Ramen for dinner, almost every night.

“I’m eating like junk food like Ramen noodles because I can’t afford anything else,” Polite said.

Government workers are feeling the pinch financially because of the government shutdown. (Photo: CBS2)

The partial government shutdown is hitting him hard.

“Just going out to have a beer with my friends … I can’t do that anymore,” Polite said.

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That’s because the National Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan is closed. He has worked there for four years, but his security guard uniform is now untouched.

“Last time I wore this uniform was Jan. 1,” Polite said, adding his weekly paychecks stopped right after.

It’s a reality roughly 800,000 government employees are facing, as the shutdown drags on. It is currently the longest in American history.

“I’ve never felt like this before, where I have no money coming in. My bank account, as far as payroll, is zero, zero, zero, zero,” Polite said.

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On top of that, Polite is a contracted worker hired by the government, but technically not a federal employee. He said that means he won’t be reimbursed for time lost when the government reopens, setting him even further back with bills.

“I’m always gonna be behind the 8-ball. It’s frustrating when you’re suffering and it’s not even your fault,” he said. “It’s tough. It’s really tough.”

Polite said he’s planning on filing for unemployment benefits, but because that may take a while to kick in he’s also looking for temporary work and hoping the shutdown comes to an end soon.

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