Tinker AFB Civilian Workers Struggle With Furloughs

Tuesday, October 1st 2013, 10:04 pm
By: News 9

As the finger pointing continues on Capitol Hill, families at Tinker AFB are trying to figure out how they're going to pay their bills.

The two families just came off a six day furlough in response to the sequester cuts. Now, for a second time in just a two month period, they're bracing for yet another round of furloughs.

"I went through a sequestration, lost six days of pay, and now, I'm not sure if I even have a job. There's no job stability anymore," said Eric Puente.

Puente has been a jet engine mechanic at Tinker AFB base for 15 years. He started the job right out of high school, but since congress can't agree on a short-term spending bill, people like Puente, living paycheck to paycheck, will have no income.

"It's going to cause a huge financial burden on me," said Puente. "And you know, my house payment, my insurance."

And, Puente is a single father of four young boys.

"We shouldn't have to suffer the burden of all this," Puente said.

"I blame all of congress, I blame both sides," said Lori Switch. "Not one is better than the other. I think they should have come to a decision."

Switch received her letter Tuesday saying she was being furloughed again. As far as she knows, this round may last until at least the end of October.

Switch has two children and worries how she'll support her family. Monday was her last paid day of work.

"I'm a single mom, and it's hard. It's hard. I have a senior in high school, and I have an 8-year-old that has some health issues," Switch said.

Congressional lawmakers continue trying to assign blame for the first government shutdown in 17 years.

"It's hard for me to understand they feel what we're going through when they're exempt from it," Puente said.

What concerns Switch and Puente the most is the uncertainly of when they'll receive a paycheck again. Workers have been told no timetable has been set on how long the furlough will last.