Government reopens, Census Bureau workers return to work - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Government reopens, Census Bureau workers return to work

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Workers at the U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center in Jeffersonville return to work on Oct. 17. Workers at the U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center in Jeffersonville return to work on Oct. 17.
Vickie Martin Vickie Martin
Donald Roberts Donald Roberts

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Throughout Kentuckiana, furloughed federal workers returned to work Thursday morning following the reopening of the United States government late Wednesday night. At the U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana employees trickled in after being summoned back to work via an automated recording by David Hackbarth, Census Bureau National Processing Center director.

"Many of the employees were waiting to hear something from us," said Vickie Martin, American Federation of Government Employees Local 1438 President. The AFGE Local 1438 is a union for about 800 of the Jeffersonville census workers, many of which, furloughed when the federal government shut down more than two weeks ago.

"It was a little nerve racking," said Martin of the federal shutdown. "Of course we expected the bill to pass the Senate very easily. The Congress I wasn't too sure about, but it went through just fine."

Now back to work and back on the clock, many of the previously furloughed employees are anxious to start receiving back pay.

"We're still waiting on pay and leave guidance," began Martin, "So we're not sure when we'll receive any salary."

"It'll probably take a little while to get it together," said Donald Roberts, a U.S. Census Bureau employee.

Roberts works as a board operator and utility mechanic for the bureau. While Roberts said he worked through the shutdown, he said he still endured its effects.

"I had money in my government savings and I can't even get my own money," said Roberts.

While the national budget deal reached late Wednesday reopened the government, it remains a short-term fix. The deal will only fund the government through January 15 and extend credit through at least February 7. If a long-term budget goal is not reached, history could repeat itself in three months and federal employees could again face furloughs.

"That's just ridiculous," began Roberts. "American people need to do something about what's being done to them."

"We'll be paying attention more closely on what's going on up on the hill from here on out, including next year in November," said Martin.

A December deadline has been set for lawmakers to create a detailed plan on long-term spending cuts. Many are hopeful the plan will help prevent another shut down and the onset of future furloughs.

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