Sacramento Federal Workers Bracing For Furloughs

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Federal workers are keeping a close eye on negotiations in Washington, D.C. but are resigned that they will only work a part day tomorrow.

“I think a lot of people are expected to walk in tomorrow and getting a furlough notice,” said Bureau of Reclamation worker Todd Pederson, who is also President of Local 0955 of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

That means workers will get around four hours to cancel meetings, tell clients, set e-mail notices and generally wrap things up before they take what could be an extended unpaid vacation. While some can weather a furlough that could last a month, others need their paycheck every two weeks.

“We haven’t had a raise in three years and that’s really going to affect people,” said Pederson.

A furlough would also affect non-federal contractors. They service the computers at Pam Black’s Bureau of Land Management office.

“We have to make sure that they don’t come in because they won’t get paid and we’re re-doing our office right now and those contractors can’t come in because they won’t get paid,” said Black.

Military commissaries will get a one day reprieve if there is a government shutdown because employees have to sell off or stow away perishables like produce and meats. But the commissary at the former McClellan Air Force Base is expected to close by Wednesday if there is a shutdown.

Customer and military retiree Charles Irwin says there won’t be an immediate problem for people who travel from the region who shop for groceries at a discount at the commissary.

“If it gets to be long-term, it could be (a problem) for some,” said Irwin.

Federal worker Anita Barrera said political games with the government shutdown is frustrating.

“The uncertainty, is it really going to happen or are they going to push it off again … it just makes more pressure on everybody,” said Barrera.

Military retiree Joe Arnold said politicians are to blame.

“Stubborn politics, it’s not about the country or the voters, it’s about them,” said Arnold.

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