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2,700 Hill Air Force Base employees headed back to work

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Oct 6th, 2013 @ 8:28pm

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — There's good news for a few thousand workers at Hill Air Force Base who have been furloughed during the government shutdown.

The Pentagon has ordered most of its civilian employees back to work. That includes about 2,700 workers at Hill Air Force Base, who, for the past week, have been out of a job. Some have already gone back to work.

"I haven't been able to sleep," said furloughed Hill employee Tami Henrikson.

The past week has taken a toll on Henrikson, who has worked at Hill for 35 years.

"I was very excited," she said of receiving a call Thursday night from her supervisor, telling her to return to work. "I knew that I would be able to pay the bills that I needed to and it just felt really good."

Henrikson is a supply specialist and a civilian employee at the base. She has a job again, but many others are still waiting for that call.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the Pentagon will recall most of its furloughed civilian workers, including employees who provide health care to troops, repair and maintain weapons systems, work at commissaries, or acquire supplies for the military.

I knew that I would be able to pay the bills that I needed to and it just felt really good.

–Tami Henrikson

The President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1592, which represents 8,000 workers at Hill Air Force Base said that's great news for the nearly 3,000 workers who were told to go home on Oct. 1.

"That's the main calls we're getting," Lewis said. "'Are we going to get back pay?' 'How am I going to make my mortgage?''Is our health insurance still going to be paid?'"

These are the questions Henrikson had too before she knew when she'd have a job again.

She recently came off another work stoppage — an unrelated six-day furlough — and she wonders if more are coming.

"I've been there for over 35 years, and this is the worst it's been in my career," Henrikson said.


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