BREAKING NEWS Police: Body found in Albert Lea that of 21-year-old who went missing earlier this summer Full Story

Judge denies requests for pay from workers affected by shutdown

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from a federal employees union to require the government to pay ...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:47 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:47 PM

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from a federal employees union to require the government to pay air traffic controllers who are currently working without pay during the partial government shutdown.

The temporary restraining order was requested by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Law and legal system

Restraining orders

Trial and procedure

Civil servants

Federal employees

Labor and employment

Workers and professionals

District Judge Richard Leon also denied two requests for temporary restraining orders regarding whether federal employees who are deemed essential and required to work without pay during the shutdown should be forced to work.

  • The National Treasury Employees Union argued that requiring essential employees to work without pay violates the Antideficiency Act, part of the US Code. The union requested a temporary restraining order that would effectively allow essential employees not to be forced to work without pay during the shutdown.

  • The second temporary restraining order, requested by individual federal workers in a separate suit, asked that federal employees deemed essential be given the choice of whether to show up to work, so they could take extra work to cover expenses if needed.

But Leon argued that Congress is the only branch of government that has the constitutional power to appropriate funds, and that the judiciary "is not and cannot be another source of leverage."

"We are an independent and coequal branch of government even if we can't keep our lights on," Leon said in court.

Leon denied all three temporary restraining orders but set a schedule for hearings regarding preliminary injunctions requested by all three suits, so while attorneys for federal employees did not win on Tuesday, they will have another chance to argue their cases before the judge. Oral arguments are scheduled for the end of the month.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia, however, is a federal court funded by the government. Federal court offices operating with fees and other reserve funds are set to run out of money on Friday because of the shutdown, according to National Law Journal.

For a judge to grant a temporary restraining order, the plaintiffs must show they are likely to suffer irreparable harm if it is not granted.

While Leon acknowledged that he did not "have any doubt that there is hardship being felt," he also said allowing employees deemed essential by the executive branch not to come to work would "at best create chaos and confusion" and at worst be "catastrophic."

This story has been updated.

Article Comments

Mason City
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Albert Lea
79° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 81°
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Rain and storms are possible the rest of the week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video


Hazmat Crew Response


Albert Lea Death Investigation


Man in custody after chemical is found at RCTC


Money Magazine ranks Rochester one of the best places to live


Sara's Daybreak Forecast - Thursday


SAW: Josilyn Cordes


PK leads JM past Winona


Rallying one last time


Family treatment court: 5 years of success


RFD rescues Romeo

Community Events