By Becca Clemons
September 26, 2013, 12:55 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration told union leaders Thursday morning that federal employees will know by the end of the week whether they can report to work Tuesday if the government shuts down.
Supervisors will tell employees informally by the end of the day Friday if they can expect to be furloughed, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement. They would receive an official notice on Tuesday if a continuing resolution to fund the government is not passed in Congress and signed into law by then.
“They’re very, very worried,” said J. David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 650,000 federal workers. “Most members make $35,000 to $40,000 a year. That’s not of a lot of money. Let’s be real, they’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
Union presidents were briefed by the Office of Management and Budget and by the Office of Personnel Management, which said agencies’ shutdown plans will be online by Friday afternoon.
Plans are expected to be similar to the ones made in 2011 in preparation for a shutdown that was narrowly avoided. They outline how many workers are deemed “excepted” because they are considered essential to performing activities required by law or for the protection of life and property. Those who are not paid with annual appropriations would also avoid furloughs.
If those plans are an indication of who would stay on the job come Tuesday, United States Forest Service firefighters would keep monitoring the Rim fire that is still smoldering in California. Three-quarters of employees would also report to work at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has been opening disaster centers in Colorado to provide flood relief.
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