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Majority of government employees returning to work
Most of the civilian employees at Yuma Proving Ground and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma who were sent home without pay after last week's partial government shutdown finally got the call they had been waiting for, telling them they could report back for work.
While the shutdown continues in Washington, the House unanimously passed the Pay Our Military Act over the weekend that provided back pay to furloughed federal employees. YPG spokesman Chuck Wullenjohn said as a result, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a letter on Saturday saying that civilian employees whose positions directly support active duty uniformed military personnel could return to their posts.
"A lot of employees have returned to work today," Wullenjohn told the Yuma Sun on Monday. "Overall I think people are glad to return to work and do their jobs again, which supports national defense."
Wullenjohn explained that about 600 civilian employees and an additional 1,000 contractors at YPG were initially affected when the government shut down last Tuesday. While a vast majority of those employees, or about 500, are now back, he said the contractors will be returning as testing operations resume.
Since all testing operations had been halted during the shutdown, Wullenjohn said it will take them time to get them all up and running again. He explained that as tests are restarted in the coming days, the contractors assigned to those tests will also start returning to work.
"We are at a 100 percent stop, and now we are having to start up again," Wullenjohn said. "It is going to take some time."
Lance Cpl. Zachary Scanlon of the MCAS Yuma public affairs office said on Monday that all of the 449 civilian employees at the air station who had been sent home without pay have all returned to work. During the shutdown, several facilities at MCAS Yuma had been closed indefinitely.
These facilities included the youth activity center, the school-age day care, the library, the Oasis Pool, the movie theater, the bowling alley and the Commissary. Scanlon said they should all be re-opening in the next few days.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.