Workers at the EPA in Research Triangle Park showed up to work Monday morning only to get their formal notices following the midnight shutdown.
The president of the local chapter that organizes government employees says only about two dozen of the 1,500 employees will be working or on call.
Not only are families hit hard, including some who are living paycheck to paycheck, but the union president says the EPA might not be able to respond as quickly to a local environmental hazard.
"Well, I don't know if that assurance can be given completely. We do have employees who are identified as exempted across the country...and then we have employees who are here, who are not here but who can come back if there's an emergency in the building. But that's only limited to specific action taking place. Otherwise, they're furloughed like the rest of us," said AFGE Local 3347 President Silvia Saracco,
Saracco says employees want to work and want to come back.
The furlough will likely also have an impact on local businesses, such as restaurants that depend on RTP workers for their lunch rush.