More than 300 federal prison employees working without pay in Lee County, Virginia

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LEE COUNTY, VA (WJHL)- Families are making tough decisions as 800,000 federal employees missed their first paycheck Friday because of the partial government shutdown.

With no end in sight, the shutdown is the longest in history.

More than 300 employees at United States Penitentiary Lee in Pennington Gap, Virginia, didn't receive a paycheck Friday.

Misty Fraley said her husband works as a correction officer at USP Lee.

While he wasn't allowed to talk to WJHL, she said the partial government shutdown has taken a toll on her family.

"I never really thought something like this could happen, you know, it's like a person is working for free basically," Fraley said. "We don't know when he's going to get paid again and my paycheck is only going so far."

It's a feeling Brian Shoemaker, president of the local chapter of American Federation of Government Employees, knows as well.

"I mean it's on the backs of federal law enforcement officers," Shoemaker said. "They are using us as pawns in a political game and it's not fair."

Shoemaker is one of the 224 correction officers at USP Lee that didn't receive a paycheck Friday.

"We want to come to work, do our job, get our pay and go home to our family," Shoemaker said.

While Fraley said their landlord is willing to work with them during the shutdown, it's still going to set her family back financially.

"I get tired of hearing 'Oh, they are just getting paid to stay home,' no, they are not. They aren't getting paid right now," Fraley said. "Our bills aren't stopping, they are still coming regardless."

She said it's a tough situation that she hopes will end soon.

"You know, come to the table, put aside their political differences," Fraley said. "Remember and think of the ones that put them in [office] because they are still getting paid regardless."

Shoemaker said employee morale has declined as the partial government shutdown continues.

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