Fort Drum Workers Brace For Government Shutdown

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If Congress doesn't reach an agreement on how the U.S. should pay its bills, the federal government will shut down on October 1.

That has workers at Fort Drum bracing for the worst. Union leaders want all employees to be ready for anything. 

"We're hoping that if it were to happen, that Congress would come to their senses relatively quickly so it would somewhat limit the impact," said Jeffrey Zuhlke of Local 400 of the American Federation of Government Employees, "but at this point, I've thrown out optimism."

If a shutdown happens, civilian workers could face another round of furloughs.

In a memo, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said, "A lapse would mean that a number of government activities would cease due to a lack of appropriated funding. While military personnel would continue in a normal duty status, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed."

That's tough for employees on post to swallow, since many are coming off summer furloughs and a pay cut they're trying to recover from. 

"We're just coming off six days of furloughs this past summer," Zuhlke said. "Employees are still trying to recover from that financial impact. A shutdown furlough would be even more devastating."

If the government does temporarily close for business, service members would continue to work, but their paychecks could be delayed.

Saturday, July 26, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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