AURORA | About 400 civilian workers at Buckley Air Force Base can’t go to work today because of the government shutdown.
The base’s commissary, where soldiers and veterans shop, is also closed due to the shutdown, said 2nd Lt. Trevor Zakrzewski, a spokesman for Air Force’s 460th Space Wing.
“That’s kind of a big deal, mostly for the retirees and the veterans in the area cause they use that pretty heavily,” he said.
Buckley has about 525 civilian employees who work for the Department of Defense and could be furloughed, but Zakrzewski said about 125 of those have been cleared to continue working during the shutdown.
The furloughs are a second economic jolt to civilian employees at Buckley after they were forced to take pay cuts as part of the sequester deal in Washington.
“It’s a tough time,” Zakrzewski said.
Officials are working to grant “excepted” status to some other civilian workers so they can return to work, he said.
The base’s exchanges are still up and running, Zakrzewski said, because those facilities operate almost entirely on revenue generated from their sales.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, said in a letter to Pentagon officials today that the civilian employees should be allowed to return to work under legislation that passed the House and Senate unanimously last week. That legislation was aimed at making sure enlisted military personnel still get paid during the shutdown and Coffman said it should extend to civilian workers, too.
“The legislation purposely casts a wide a net as possible to ensure that Department of Defense civilian personnel, all of which are necessary to sustain military operations, can report to work,” Coffman wrote.