Friday, February 15, 2019

1,400 workers at Kennedy Space Center won't be paid?

Back pay for contractors left out of shutdown deal, affecting hundreds of NASA workers

Orlando Sentinel
Chabeli Herrera
February 14, 2019
“The rejection of federal contract worker back pay by the GOP leadership in this funding deal is outrageous and unfair,” said Robert Martinez Jr., president of the Machinists Union International. “We urge Republican and Democratic leadership to quickly pass legislation to secure back pay for the federal contract workers.”

Buddy Boylan, a propellant mechanic with AECOM, attends a union meeting for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 2061 in Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Chabeli Herrera / Orlando Sentinel)
A provision that would have restored back pay following the government shutdown for federal contractors, including hundreds who work for NASA on the Space Coast, was left out of a funding deal that Congress reached this week.

The 35-day government shutdown, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25, left an estimated 1,400 workers at Kennedy Space Center without work. Most of those employees were federal contractors, who work in tandem with civil servants as electricians, engineers, safety specialists and in other positions that involve spacecraft and rockets at the Cape.

After the end of the shutdown, President Donald Trump passed an agreement ensuring civil servants — whether they worked during the shutdown or not — would get back pay for the five weeks of lost paychecks. Government contractors, whose back pay is dependent on their individual contracts with government agencies, were not included in that agreement.

Across the nation, it’s estimated that about 800,000 civil servants and 1.2 million government contractors were impacted by the shutdown. During the government closure, many were forced to cut expenses, dip into their savings, use vacation time and visit food pantries to scrape by.
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