FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- The government shutdown means some civilian employees at Fort McCoy will be out of work indefinitely. So, at 11:00 Tuesday morning, 900 civilian employees at Fort McCoy headed home.
"All the employees, right away this morning, they were issued letters they had to sign, acknowledging that they were being furloughed and then they were given four hours to enact an orderly shutdown," said public affairs officer Linda Fournier. "What that meant is they needed to change the message on their voicemail, to change the email message on their government computers, also to make sure their time-card was completed."
Another blow to the bank accounts of workers who have already taken six unpaid days since July-- the result of the sequester budget cuts.
"It's difficult because they've already taken that 48 hours without pay they took earlier in the year, and now this is unknown," Fournier said. "Is it just going to be four hours today? Is it going to go through the week?"
Some operations at the Fort will continue. Pay for the 500 military personal is covered. And police and fire departments will operate and the Fort daycare will stay open. But, even those essential non-military personal who are working, aren't guaranteed a paycheck.
"For right now, even if you're required to work, the police, the fire, the day care, it's going to take an act of Congress to pay them," Fournier said. "It will also take an act of Congress to pay the furloughed employees. So there's no guarantee, whether you're working or not, that you will get paid."
And there are things on the fort that will close as a result of the shutdown and subsequent furloughs, like the commissary.
"There are families who depend on going to the commissary because that's a benefit," Fournier said. "They won't have that. So it's not just affecting government employees who are sent home. There's military families."
The last time the government shutdown, 17 years ago, the Department of Defense closed for three days. Ultimately the furloughed workers got back-pay, but how long this shutdown lasts and whether or not employees will see a paycheck is unknown.
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