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Youngstown air station workers uncertain about future paychecks

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VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Civilian employees of the Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station are back to work after they were furloughed last week as part of the government shutdown.

But it's not business as usual for the 400 civilians who work at the home of the 910th Airlift Wing.

As the shutdown enters its second week, there's still a matter of last week's paychecks that are expected to be back paid but have not received official approval yet.

Because they were furloughed most of last week, this group of trained specialists who have to maintain a "state of readiness" at all times realize their paycheck this week will likely be short to the tune of 40 percent.

Col. James Dignan of the 910th says he has faith the pay will work itself out but is still concerned.

"My main concern is my folks who live day-to-day or they count on their paychecks to make a car payment," Dignan says.

The furloughed workers were sent home last week without pay then brought back Monday under the Pay Our Military Act that was signed into law the day before the government shutdown.

Under the Act, any military members or civilian personnel who aid the military are allowed to work during the shutdown.

Legislation making its way through Congress now will give that back pay to them, but it's uncertain when it will be passed and signed into law.

"We don't know when we're going to be paid," says Mark Kobow, an aircraft technician. "But, like anybody else, I don't want to be out of a job and file unemployment."

In the meantime, there's also the problem of planes that are a week behind on maintenance and can't take flight without the proper funding.

"Almost all of our flying has been grounded," Dignan says. "Our airplanes are not flying as of right now."

Along with the C-130s grounded because of no budget to support fuel and other expenses, training for 1,400 reservists is also in limbo

The air station hopes lawmakers can approve the resolution or a military budget as a whole so they can go back to flying high.

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