Government shutdown: Thousands of civilian employees at HAFB furloughed
DAVIS COUNTY — Families are feeling the effects of a government shutdown in Davis County.
Monte Lewis, Local 1592 president of American Federal Government Employees, said 2,600 civilian employees were furloughed at Hill Air Force Base Tuesday.
The government shut down Tuesday morning after Washington politicians could not come to an agreement on the budget. The center of the controversy is President Barack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act.
About 50 workers rallied late Tuesday afternoon, waving signs outside of the base’s south exit in Layton and called on Congress to end the shutdown.
“We need to go back to work,” said Bob Milliner, a base employee.
Milliner said he hasn’t been furloughed yet but his wife, an IRS employee, was sent home from work Tuesday morning.
“There’s thousands of people in our community that are out of work today, and have no idea how they’re going to pay their bills and continue on and feed their children and put a roof over their head,” Milliner said.
Glenn Kirby, another base worker, said he will be furloughed Wednesday morning.
“You got a house payment that’s due, and bills you gotta pay,” Kirby said. “And each day you take off, that’s money out of your pocket you can’t pay.”
Lewis said many civilian employees at HAFB who aren’t furloughed will continue working but won’t be paid until the shutdown ends.
Base employees aren’t the only ones in the area feeling the pinch, said Anthony Gilbert, manager of restaurant Dickey’s Barbecue.
Dickey’s is just a few blocks away from the base, and makes most of its money from the lunch crowd coming from HAFB.
“They lose money, we lose money,” Gilbert said. “We’ve taken full time people and knocked them down to part time. That hurts them, too.”
Gilbert said business has been cut in half starting two weeks ago when government workers saw the looming shutdown and stopped spending money.
“We got some military guys walking in right now, but… not what we’re used to,” he said. “I’m used to seeing about a hundred times that.”
Milliner said he and his coworkers have dedicated their lives to serving the country. Now they’re asking their neighbors to return the favor.
“That’s what we do, we work for the people,” Milliner said. “We need them right now to work for us. Call their congressmen and tell them to put us federal employees back to work.”
Base employees say they’ve been experiencing tough times for a while, enduring furloughs and going without raises for three years. Some say this past year has been especially challenging.
Employees have already had to take six furlough days and now there is the potential of several more.