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Questions remain about pay for Fort Drum civilian employees exempted from furloughs

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FORT DRUM — Civilian workers on post, all of whom returned from furlough Monday, will be paid as usual for this week.

However, the question remains about when hundreds of employees exempted from furloughs, about 57.5 percent of the post’s civilian workforce, will be paid for their work last week, for which they essentially received IOUs.

“There’s some disconnect somewhere when it comes to last week’s paychecks,” said Jeffrey W. Zuhlke, president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 400.

An employees-only briefing was held Tuesday morning by Deputy Garrison Commander Michael H. McKinnon to discuss paycheck details. A copy of his presentation was not provided by the post.

Mr. Zuhlke said that civilian workers who attended the meeting had several questions about their pay.

“I think there’s still a lot of angst that could be felt in the briefing today,” he said.

The local union president said workers were told by Mr. McKinnon that they would be paid when money is appropriated for such a purpose. However, Mr. Zuhlke said he had heard from the national AFGE leadership that the Pay Our Military Act, the legislation passed Sept. 30 that set in motion the recall for employee furloughs, would allow for workers to be paid on schedule.

Mr. Zuhlke said the post and other military leaders were working to bring together guidance from multiple levels.

“A lot of this stuff is still in flux,’ he said.

In addition, a bill to reimburse more than 500 furloughed local workers, and hundreds of thousands of other furloughed federal workers nationwide, is working its way through the U.S. Senate after being passed by the House of Representatives.

U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, both D-N.Y., said through their spokeswomen that they would support such legislation when it comes up for a vote.

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