ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — One of the prison union leaders from Rochester’s Federal Medical Center is in Washington, D.C. this week lobbying members of Congress against another government shutdown.
Sandy Parr is a food service supervisor at the FMC and one of the leaders of Local 3447 of the American Federation of Government Employees. Parr is currently the Regional Fair Practices Coordinator for the North Central Region.
Parr is part of a collective action lawsuit filed against the federal government for making the prison employees work without getting a paycheck in the recent partial government shutdown. She said 75 employees at the Federal Medical Center have signed up to be part of the suit so far, seeking damages, out of some 200 at FMC who might qualify to take part.
Parr flew to Washington on Sunday, and she and others are lobbying lawmakers against another government shutdown. At the same time, the collective action lawsuit goes on as Civil Action No. 19-4C in the court of Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith.
“It has been a very difficult time,” said Parr, “but we stood together. We had our food shelves, some families got diapers and baby formula donated to us.”
Parr said many of those forced to work without being paid had been unable to pay their bills on time, and that’s one reason they are signing on to the lawsuit, seeking damages. The same union filed the same complaint against the U.S. Government after a partial government shutdown in 2013 and won a judgment in that case, though the plaintiffs have still not been paid.