By Cherri Gregg and Dray Clark

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Federal employees demonstrated during the lunch hour today near Third and Spring Garden Streets, where a Social Security Administration office is located.

They were protesting the partial government shutdown, just one of many rallies by unionized federal employees planned around the country.

More than 100 members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)  gathered outside the Social Security building after being told in a management meeting that they either had to go home or work with the possibility they may not get paid.

“You’re not getting your job done while I’m working for free — that’s why you see this rally,” said Bob North, chief steward at AFGE.  He says management instructions were based on essential or non-essential employee status.

“If you’re non-essential then you’re sent home,” he explained.  “If you’re essential, your leave is suspended, you’re not allowed to request leave, and you are required to work a full day and may or may not be paid.”

Kevin Parks says if he doesn’t get paid, he can’t pay his child support.

“Congress is still getting paid, the president is still getting paid.  I support what he is doing, but we are working to make sure grandparents and the disabled get paid and then we can’t get paid.  I have bills just like you,” he said.

One protester, Hope Smith, had this message for Congress:

“We need to get this taken care of, and y’all need to pass this budget!”

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