'Please let us go back to work': NASA employees plan to rally at Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON – The local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, plans a rally calling for an end to the government shutdown.

The rally will happen on Tuesday at noon in front of the sign at NASA’s Johnson Space Center at 2101 NASA Parkway in southeast Houston.  

"Please let us go back to work. We would like to work,” said Justin Bautista.

Bautista is a NASA employee and the first vice president of AFGE Local 2284. He is one of about 2,800 NASA workers who have not been at work for more than three weeks.  

He told KPRC 2, "I'm a young person with a lot of student debt. I left school with about $100,000 worth of student debt. So, for me, I'm able to cover a few paychecks.  But beyond that, the bills will start stacking up."  

Approximately 300 workers continue working, without a paycheck, in order to continue critical work, such as supporting the International Space Station. As a U.S. government employee, not even the American astronaut nearly 250 miles from Earth, living on board the space station, will receive a paycheck.  

"That's the scary part. That's what sets this apart from any other furlough is we don't know how long it's going to last,” said Bridget Broussard-Guidry, president of AFGE Local 2284.

“We have husband and wife combination, where both are furloughed. So no paycheck is coming in. We have single parents. We have retirees or retiree-eligible individuals that's having to figure how to make ends meet, dipping into their savings, if they have some," she said.