More than 1,000 furloughed employees are back to work at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County.
The Department of Defense recalled hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed during the government shutdown after passing the “Pay Our Military Act” which exempts Defense Department civilian workers from furlough if they provide direct support to the military.
Last week 1,200 National Guard members got furloughed because of the government shutdown. Tuesday 1,103 returned because of the DOD recall. “It’s not fault of their own that the people who were furloughed didn’t have a job for a week and some of them still don’t have a job. It’s gridlock in Washington D.C. and it’s congress passing a budget,” said Maj. Ed Shank with the Pa National Guard.
The military technicians who returned to work are part of the National Guard, they wear a uniform and deploy. But, the Federal Government considers them civilian employees. “For us that wasn’t really a fair assessment. We deploy right alongside all the other members of the military,” said Maj. Shank.
Also, because of the shutdown, National Guard drills have been put on hold until further notice. “We have 19,000 soldiers and airman in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that it’s unclear when we’re going back to drill. Until this is over in Washington DC they are not going to get that paycheck,” said Maj. Shank.
At the Naval Support Activity in Mechanicsburg workers returned Monday. “Nearly all of the approximately 250 furloughed workers at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mechanicsburg returned to work Monday. They were sent home Tuesday, October 1st due to the government shut down. Employees holding positions in areas such as logistics; administrative; business office; Morale Welfare & Recreation; security (non-law enforcement); fire inspectors; housing; and, training have been able to return. Employees furloughed last Tuesday will not receive a full paycheck this Friday until the government shutdown is over and the budget is passed. It is uncertain when full pay will be received,” said Beth Baker, Director of Public Affairs.