Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Announces Loan Program for Public Sector Employees Impacted by Federal Government Shutdown

For Release: 

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Elena Temple

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten today announced an interest-free loan program from the union for its federal public sector members who are impacted by the government shutdown, which has lasted for 20 days so far.

The AFT represents federal government employees, including corrections officers, firefighters, engineers and budget analysts who work in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other tribal agencies, many of whom have continued to work, despite not being paid during the shutdown.

The AFT, alongside several other unions, has been a pioneer in the effort to bring effective representation and meaningful collective bargaining rights to federal public employees, many of whom belong to the AFT-affiliated Federation of Indian Service Employees. With support from the AFL-CIO Employees Federal Credit Union, the AFT created the loan program to help impacted members ease their financial burden during this time of uncertainty.

In announcing the interest-free loan program, Weingarten said, “The Trump shutdown has plunged thousands of Americans into economic uncertainty and put critical services at risk—from corrections workers to food safety inspectors to those living on tribal lands. Government workers are missing rent and mortgage payments, defaulting on their student loan debt, and having to choose between food and medicine. As their union, we try to help whenever and wherever we can. This is the true meaning of unionism and solidarity: We have each other’s backs in every fight. No one who works full time should be expected to live without a paycheck simply because their elected leaders are playing politics with the federal workforce.”

AFT public employee members who are in need of assistance while furloughed can apply for interest-free loans or access more information at


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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.