Workers at Tinker Air Force Base bracing for more cuts as shutdown looms
OKLAHOMA CITY — After taking six furlough days this summer due to the sequester, civilian workers are Tinker Air Force Base are bracing for more bad news. Some employees will be sent home Tuesday, if the federal government shuts down."People are concerned. [I'm getting] a lot of calls. They're worried about if this is going to mean going home without pay," James Schmidt, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 916, said.AFGE Local 916 is the union for Department of Defense workers at Tinker AFB."It's demoralizing. Most people that come to work for the federal government do it out of patriotism and also the stability," Schmidt said. "The stability has been taken away over the past four years."All workers will need to show up to work as normal, but then they could be presented with furlough notices, Schmidt said.Related: Government shutdown countdo what's impacted in OklahomaSchmidt said he is disappointed with leadership in Washington, DC for putting his union members on the line, again."They should take federal employees off the table. I think it's really unfortunate that they're willing to sacrifice us and our families, just to get their way. Whether you believe in the Affordable Care Act or not, I don't think shutting down the government is the answer," Schmidt said.Schmidt worries the furlough on Tinker AFB workers will have a bigger effect on Oklahoma as a whole."A lot of people think... 'let it shut down. It's not going to affect me at all.' But it will. All the small business around the area will be affected, just like they were when we had our six day furlough earlier this year," he said. "It did not take long for all of the business to realize how much it would affect their bottom line."If the shutdown happens, working capital fund workers will not be affected, unless the shutdown lasts longer than five days. At that point, Schmidt said those workers could also be sent home.Related: Senate passes bill to ensure military pay in event of shutdownProfessor of economics at UCO, Dr. Sue Lynn Sasser agrees furloughs could hurt our economy."Generally a day or two, people can absorb that and we've seen that with the furloughs... certainly anything that starts extending past three or four more days can be very detrimental for families and then that is detrimental to the economy," she said.Sasser said about 60-percent of the economy is driven by consumers. If they continue to act as normal, she said there should be no effect on the economy. She said Oklahomans should relax and keep in mind that a shutdown would likely not last very long.
"Everybody needs to realize that our economy is based on faith and confidence. When people start to lose confidence in the overall economy, the overall government, the overall structure of the people that are involved in making the decisions, then that has a negative impact," Sasser said.