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NASA Workers Face Uncertain Future During Shutdown

This aerial view looking north shows space shuttle Complex 39 Launch Pads A (foreground) and B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. To the right is the Atlantic Ocean. (2006) Photo credit: Cory Huston, NASA
This aerial view looking north shows space shuttle Complex 39 Launch Pads A (foreground) and B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. To the right is the Atlantic Ocean. (2006) Photo credit: Cory Huston, NASA

Many federal workers are not getting a paycheck due to the partial government shutdown including hundreds of workers at the Kennedy Space Center.

Local Lodge 2061 represents machinists working at the space center and president Ed Grabowski said it’s uncertain if the nearly 600 contract workers represented by his union will get back pay once the government is funded.

“They might never recoup this money. Most of our members get paid bi-weekly and every paycheck is 3.5 percent of their annual income,” said Grabowski.

He says local banks are offering zero-percent or low-rate loans in the short term, and his union is working with members to help cover other costs.

"We’ve encouraged them to research that if they need it. Be smart with your money. Reach out to us, we’ll see what we can do to help out."

Many of KSC’s contract workers are also going through a major contract change, which is now delayed due to the shutdown, causing further uncertainty for workers’ futures.

More than half of NASA’s civil servants are also furloughed during the shutdown. NASA announced a delay of a launch of a SpaceX rocket that was scheduled for next week.

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Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program.

Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.