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CVG air traffic controllers missing second paycheck as shutdown continues

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jan 24, 2019

HEBRON, Ky. — As the Senate rejected competing plans to end the partial government shutdown Thursday, federal workers were bracing to miss their second straight paycheck.

For air traffic controllers like John Buonadonna of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, there's no relief coming Friday. But he'll still go into work even though he won't be getting paid.

"I personally have some savings. But that's only going to last so long, and I'll have to start making those same decisions that my members are already making now," Buonadonna said. "Some of these people are already having to make tough decisions, and I'll be in that boat soon."

Buonadonna is the local union rep for air traffic controllers at CVG. His friends and co-workers are scrambling to figure out how to stay afloat without any income.

"The mortgage still has to be paid," he said. "We have a lot of young controllers there with new families, new children, and they're having to make decisions on which bills to pay. New medical bills are piling up."

With some 800,000 federal workers impacted by the shutdown, many families are facing tough financial decisions. David Hyland, a professor of finance at Xavier University, said decisions those families make now could have lasting impacts down the road.

"People are resilient," he said. "They figure out ways to get things done. But, it might be a credit card bill that I end up having to pay interest on for a long time, or it might be some missed payments that might hurl my credit rating."

Hyland said the promise of back pay is not enough to keep the lights on now. He said affected families should talk to their creditors, take advantage of free resources in the community and prioritize what needs to be paid for first.

"We're pretty scared of what's going to happen if they don't reopen the government," Buonadonna said.