WEST POINT – Civilian employees at West Point who have been furloughed because of the federal government shutdown, gathered outside Thayer Gate on Tuesday to call for an end to the “irresponsibility displayed by Republicans in Congress.”
Donald Hale, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2367, called for an end to the gridlock in Washington.
Civilian employees are back to work at Fort Drum and West Point after a week of furloughs stemming from the government shutdown.
U.S. Military Academy spokesman Lt. Col. Webster Wright said most of the academy's 1,422 furloughed civilian employees returned to work on Monday.
The American Federation of Government Employees Local 400 told the Watertown Daily Times that about 325 furloughed medical workers were called back in at Fort Drum. The northern New York post on Sunday night said that all 250 garrison employees were called to return to their work Monday as well.
Some classes at West Point are being combined or canceled and military faculty members are being forced to fill in for civilian instructors furloughed because of the government shutdown.
U.S. Military Academy officials said Thursday they furloughed 1,422 civilian employees this week, including 132 faculty members.
The academy's faculty is about 70 percent military personnel who are unaffected by the shutdown. But spokesman Lt. Col. Webster Wright says the furloughs are challenging West Point's ability to provide a top-level education to cadets.
The New York Yankees are set to open their season against rival Boston today. But before turning their attention to a high-stakes season of adversity, the Bronx Bombers spent Saturday touring the facilities at West Point and holding an exhibition game against the Army cadets. The game rekindled an old tradition for the two storied programs.
A two-week delay in the first furlough warnings to civilian employees at West Point and other federal installations will harm the workers even more, according to American Federation of Government Employees Local 2367 Vice President James McCabe.
He said cutting two weeks off the furlough time at the US Military Academy and elsewhere will hurt workers even more than the original plan.
A national watchdog group that espouses the importance of the separation of church and state is calling upon the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to stop including prayers during official events. In response, a Chaplain Alliance is asking West Point officials to allow such prayers to continue.