Local furloughed IRS workers face increased pressure when told to work without pay

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Since local IRS workers staged a rally last week to protest the government shutdown --the politics have become personal.

And the employees just want to get back to work.

"It doesn't matter to me what political party you are in, but people need to get paid and pay bills," said Lucia Lopez at a rally last week.

Faced with this year's fast approaching tax season, The Treasury Department decided to recall 57 percent of the IRS workforce.

46,000 employees are being ordered to report back to process tax refunds, without pay.

And for many, it will cost them even more money to work for free.

"Some people work an hour away, two hours away, 45 minutes away, to get gas to go back and forth with no pay and to put food on the table is very stressful for them," said Jason Sisk.

RELATED: IRS recalling 46,000 workers to handle taxes without pay

Sisk is the president of the local chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union, and says many of his co-workers live paycheck to paycheck.

Some are now facing eviction with no income.

And while they're being called in to work for free, they could be penalized if they seek part-time jobs to make ends meet.

"Some people are saying they are not going to go, but they will be threatened with AWOL, which is absent without leave," Sisk said.

There are more than 5,200 IRS employees in Fresno.

And to add insult to injury, they received paychecks with zero balances.

"All the creditors, the local businesses, restaurants, you name it for lunch, for dinner. It's a lot of impact to the local economy," he said.

For employees like Sisk who have worked here 30 years, getting another job isn't worth losing benefits and seniority.
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