CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — For 28 years, Ed Grabowski says he's been a logistics contractor at Kennedy Space Center and really enjoyed the job — until about a year ago, when he started questioning his job security.

  • Kennedy Space Center contractors rally for back pay from shutdown
  • "If we don't get that back, that's money that we lose," one contractor says
  • Aerospace workers want legislation protecting them from shutdowns

"This is the third one (government shutdown) we've had in the past 12 months," Grabowski said. "During the past one, we never got reimbursed for the lost day, and now we are talking about lost weeks."

He and other members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers held a food drive and rally Saturday to push for legislation that would protect contractors if another government shutdown takes place.

They hope the legislation will protect them financially by giving them back pay — as federal workers have been promised.

"Right now, we're not covered as federal contract workers. If we don't get that back, that's money that we lose for the year. And we can't spend it in the community," Grabowski said.

In Brevard County, the workers are getting some help with mounting unpaid bills: During this week's city of Cocoa council meeting, it was decided to extended the due day for their utilities and waive their late fee.

"We have to get legislation passed in Congress to make sure they get their back pay. This is about fairness," said Rickey Wallace of the IAMAW.