Government shutdown update: Luke Air Force base furloughs more than 400 civilian workers

GLENDALE, AZ - Hundreds of Valley families depend on paychecks from Luke Air Force Base.

But because of the government shutdown, 412 civilian employees are out of work right now.

Nearly 10 percent of the air force base's 4,830 employees are on furlough.

That includes aircraft mechanics, engineers, financial analysts and secretaries.

The effects are being felt across the board. Hundreds of families are worrying about when they'll get their next paycheck, and that's leaving local businesses bracing for a hit too.

For more than 50 years, Lucie's Sage and Sand Bar and Grill has been there for its neighbors-- the airmen and women across the street at Luke Air Force Base.

"These are our customers, our friends. People that are part of our neighborhood out here," said owner Mitch Stevens.

But now some of them are hurting, wondering how long the furloughs will last.

Stevens can't help worrying about them and his business.

"To sit there and listen to them at the tables, some of these guys just don't know where their next meal's coming from. They have car payments, they have mortgages to pay. This is not a joke," he said.

While several hundred employees are furloughed, some medical services will be limited and support services like the commissary and library are shut down.

Brigadier General Michael D. Rothstein says it will only get worse over time.

"Certainly that has been disruptive to our mission. And while we can get by in the short term, I'm under no illusion that we can get by in the long term," he said.

Back at the bar and grill, Stevens believes this test will bring the community together.

He just hopes Congress will act fast-- with people's livelihoods on the line.

"We live in the greatest country in the world, there's no denying that. It's just sad that some of our politicians can't just get it together," Stevens said.

Military personnel are still getting paid right now and there are still several other civilian employees going to work on base. Officials say F-16 flying operations will continue.

 

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