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Shutdown Could Furlough Thousands of Hanford Tank Farm Workers

Government shutdown could layoff or furlough thousands of Hanford workers
(Photo by Jeff T. Green/Getty Images)

If the shutdown drags on,  a lot of Hanford workers could have nothing to do.

The Tri-City Economic Developement Council says if the stalled government budget talks drag on,  many Hanford workers could start being put on temporary leave, or laid off – as early as Wednesday.

TRIDEC officials estimate depending upon how long the shutdown lasts,  it could affect as many as 9,000.   The Tacoma News-Tribune reports while it wouldn’t be a permanent job loss,  it could have a definite ripple effect on the area economy.   According to the Tribune:

“Last week DOE released a statement saying that if a resolution to the federal government shutdown is not achieved in the near term, DOE will be forced to take further action to shut down nonessential operations and furlough federal and federal contractor employees.With no federal budget for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, Hanford has been operating largely on money carried over from previous years. However, the last fiscal year had a tight budget because of sequestration.”

It is unclear how union-affiliate workers will be affected as they can be laid off without notice, but the collective bargaining agreements in place prohibit furloughs.  A coalition of Washington legislators, including Rep. Doc Hastings, and Senator Patty Murray, have been pushing Congressional leaders to find a way to end the shutdown and prevent the potential layoffs or furloughs.

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