Thousands of furloughs are expected at the Y-12 National Security Complex later this week, and on Tuesday, a union leader and political activists will urge Congress to reopen the federal government, pay the nation’s bills, and “get back to work,” a press release said.
Steve Jones, president of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council, will be the featured speaker at a 10:30 a.m. Tuesday press conference organized by Organizing for Action. The press conference is at the ATLC union hall at 109 Viking Road in Oak Ridge.
Y-12 started an “orderly shutdown” on Monday, Oct. 7, because Congress has not passed a budget in the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. The press release said Y-12 will go into a safe and secure shutdown mode on Thursday, and only essential personnel—about 900 people, with half of them being security forces—will remain.
“The other approximately 3,600 employees will be furloughed without a paycheck coming in,” the release said. “These are people that come to work every day, and are proud of the mission we perform that helps keep our nation safe. They are people with families, mortgage payments, people who support the local economy. Just like the rest of America, some live paycheck to paycheck and to stop getting those paychecks will have a devastating effect on their families as well as the local economy.”
Congressional Democrats and Republicans have been unable to reach a deal on funding the government. The initial dispute primarily focused on whether to delay the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” but it has since evolved into a feud over spending and the continuation of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
In addition to searching for an agreement to reopen the government, Congress is also racing against the clock to raise the nation’s debt limit by Thursday to avoid a default.