President delivering his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress

Several federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown attended the State of the Union address last night as guests of Democratic lawmakers. According to the Huffington Post, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) invited Sajid Shahriar, a labor leader and an employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to join her for the address.

“It’s time to send a message to President Trump and Senate Republicans: federal and contract workers are the backbone of our economy and their livelihoods should never be used as pawns in Republican political games,” Warren said in a statement.

Shahriar was one of roughly 380,000 federal workers furloughed during the shutdown. Those furloughed workers went 35 days without pay. Backpay was approved for federal workers affected by the shutdown, but not for contact workers.

Workers like Lila Johnson, 71, a general cleaning services contractor at the Department of Agriculture, probably won’t see any of her lost wages. She joined Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) at the the address.

“Low- and middle-wage federal contract workers who were locked out of their jobs during the shutdown have been stuck with mounting bills and no back pay,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

Van Hollen and Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) last month introduced the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act to ensure government contractors are paid for lost wages due to the shutdown.

Read the full article here.