300 civilian employees at Fairchild Air Force Base are returning back to work thanks to a move from the Defense Department over the weekend.
Additionally, 248 National Guardsmen based at Fairchild have also been recalled to work, according to the Washington Military Department.
On Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly all 350,000 furloughed Defense Department civilian employees back on the job. Hagel says he based his weekend decision on a Pentagon interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act, which was passed shortly before the partial government shutdown began.
As a result, all of the civilian employees at Fairchild are heading back to work and services shut down last week are reopening. The library, education center, military testing office, pre-teen/teen center, youth sports and family child care office have all reopened. The base commissary is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday.
"You've heard that we are bringing back many of our civilian teammates, but a significant number of them will not return. That is not what we or OSD wanted; however, the DOJ/OMB/DOD negotiated position on the interpretation of the law does not eliminate furloughs all together and leaves many of our civilian Airmen left behind," said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning.
"Everyone's work supports our Airmen, but the mechanics of the legislation is the driving force of who comes back, not the value of the work. This is unfair and simply a disruptive situation for you and your families. From day one, our primary focus has been to rapidly get as many people back to work as soon as possible; and we will continue those efforts. We are a team, a family -- always have been. We will not be a fully-functioning organization until the last member returns."
The Washington Military Department also announced Monday afternoon that more than 700 furloughed federal employees who support the Washington National Guard will be going back to work Tuesday.
"This is good news for the men and women who have been off the job – as well as the entire state of Washington," Major General Bret Daugherty, the state’s adjutant general and commander of the Washington National Guard, said.
"The Washington National Guard had nearly half of its full time staff on furlough, which significantly impacted our work – including our ability to maintain the vehicles and aircraft we use during emergencies. Our priority is providing help and protection to Washingtonians when it’s needed – and those employees that have been furloughed play a critical role in meeting that mission. With that said, without a compromise by Congress our department will continue to be negatively impacted. We will continue to have employees on furlough, and will continue to lack the federal appropriations needed to carry out important work," he added.
Among the 700 personnel being recalled to work are 248 National Guardsmen based at Fairchild Air Force Base.
Approximately 80 state employees of the Washington Military Department remain on furlough.
The lack of federal funding means the state's Air and Army National Guard units will not be able to conduct weekend drills.
The Associated Press contributed to this report