Nearly all Barksdale AFB civilian workers ordered back to work - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Nearly all Barksdale AFB civilian workers ordered back to work by Pentagon

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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -

Most furloughed civilian workers assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base reported to their jobs Monday after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recalled 400-thousand civilian department of defense employees.

Hagel said the law allows the DOD (Department of Defense) to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being and readiness of service members. On Monday morning, Barksdale welcomed back most of their civilian workers, but not all workers are back on the job. "While we were allowed to bring our government civilians back to work today, we are still working through the ability to bring our contracted workers back as well," Colonel Andrew J. Gebara explained on their Facebook Page.

"I know this has been and continues to be a difficult time for our nation and our government workforce, but we will continue to work together to get our big three missions done while taking care of our people," Col. Gebara continued in his message.

Now the Bossier community is responding after about half of the workers furloughed across the nation during the shutdown are back on the job. Sam's Southern Eatery and Seafood sits just steps from the West Gate of the Barksdale Air Force Base. Restaurant Employee Tammy Howell explained that their location makes it a popular spot for people who work on base, "I have a lot of regular customers that come from there," said Howell, but added that when the government shutdown furloughed 872 Barksdale civilians, Tammy noticed their regular lunch crowd thinned out.
         
"The more people at work, the better it is," said John Wheeler, who is retired military and a former Civilian Barksdale Worker. "I just want to say it's wonderful, the people got their jobs back and their really going back to work, that's a blessing," he said. What's really making him excited is that the commissary will re-open with normal hours starting Tuesday. "I love shopping there because the meats are definitely cheaper and I save a lot of money," he said.

Still, not everything is back to normal  on base, the library and base switchboard along with other services, remain closed or are resuming in a limited capacity.
     
As far as the restaurant is concerned, Howell hopes the civilians back at work, mean their business will pick back up. "We appreciate the business here at Barksdale and hope they keep coming," she said. As far as payment goes, Barksdale says all furloughed workers will get paid for their time and on schedule with specially appropriated money from the pay our military act. The only things up in the air, are the contractor's pay and the retroactive furlough pay.

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