LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Local union leaders and furloughed employees joined veterans today in protest of the government shutdown. In front of the Veterans Hospital, protesters hoped their voices might be heard in Washington.
Furloughs at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) have not only affected the organization's employees but also those seeking their hard earned benefits.
"First time veterans cannot walk into today, next week and file a claim," said Barbara Casanova, Local President for AFEGE Local 2054. "It's egregious."
The VBA has no employees in their public contact, appeals or quality review departments. Those employees process veteran claims.
Retired veteran Gerald Hunter served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. His five-year-old daughter Jaci has a bone disorder which requires constant supervision and medical care.
"If I miss a paycheck, we'll be one paycheck away from homelessness," Hunter said. "Some have lost their lives, limbs, loved ones. And we trust our government to take care of us."
Rally leaders provided the crowd with Congressman Tim Griffin's (R-Ark, 2nd District) phone number and passed out a petition urging the Congressman to take action.
"We want the madness to stop, we want our nation's heroes to be able to go in, and get the assistance that they have earned," Casanova said.