Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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914th, 107th Airlift Wings headed back to work

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Buffalo: 914th, 107th Airlift Wings headed back to work
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — It's nearly a week into the government shutdown, and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is feeling the effects.

"One-hundred eighty of our technicians, who were classified as civilian employees of the DOD, were sent home last Tuesday,” said Eric Durr, public affairs director for the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

The furloughs brought the total number of those laid off from the 914th and 107th Airlift Wings to 425.

"It's certainly not a healthy thing for government to have to lay people off for short periods of time,” Niagara Military Affairs Council chair John Cooper said.

It's the second time this year Niagara County's largest employer has had to furlough civilian employees, and according to those like Cooper, who works to keep the base viable, the effects are far-reaching.

"We certainly don't like to see anyone out of work,” he said. “We recognize the economic impact of the reserve station to Western New York, which is about $168 million a year, so it's certainly disappointing to see people out of work."

But unlike much of the country, Monday brought good news for the base.

"The bulk of our folks who were furloughed last week should be back at work tomorrow," Durr explained.

That means 180 dual status technicians with the 107th will be clocking in Tuesday morning. Hundreds more from the 914th did so throughout the day Monday.

"It's not geographical, it's basically, what's your job title,” Durr said. “We expect that all but a handful will be back at work tomorrow."

Whether they'll be reimbursed for the past week remains to be seen.

Total, officials estimated 350,000 nationwide will be back at work as part of the Pay Our Military Act. Though others aren't so lucky, so far, there's no end to the shutdown in sight.

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