'Splashdown, Not Shutdown:' Furloughed employees protest at NASA's JSC

HOUSTON - A large group of furloughed employees, contractors, retirees and other federal workers held a protest Tuesday morning outside Johnson Space Center to protest the partial federal government shutdown.

With signs such as 'Splashdown, Not Shutdown,'  'Congress We Have A Problem' and 'No More Furloughs,' the group of about 50-60 protestors lined the streets at the entrance to JSC encouraging cars and trucks to honk in support as they drove by.

They said they want Congress to vote up or down on the shutdown.

"This is going to be a huge financial hardship, not knowing when our next paycheck is. It's a huge burden you save for a rainy day but you don't save for a torrential downpour," said protester Beth Lablanc.

The protest was organized by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). The president of AFGE, Bridget Broussard-Guidry said 97 percent of NASA employees have been furloughed at JSC.

"We're at home furloughed without pay and we have bills to pay. We have families to take care of, we have mortgage payments and car note payments," Broussard-Guidry said.

Of the 3,100 JSC employees, only 100 were deemed essential and are still working, staffing Mission Control and sustaining astronauts on the International Space Station.

However, Broussard-Guidry said she did not know if those workers were actually getting paid.

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