The Hawaii Metal Trades Council says more than three-thousand workers at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard received their furlough notices Tuesday. They were then sent home, not knowing when they can come back to work.
“Not too tough unless it gets into maybe more than a couple of weeks other than that,” Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard worker Michael Yamamoto said.
“Probably just go day-to-day,” Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard worker Ed Irebaria said.
There are thousands more who work at Pearl Harbor, such as engineers and technicians, who are classified as non-essential. While they knew the shutdown was coming, the reality of this day still comes as a shock.
“You kinda don’t think it’s gonna happen and when it does I think just like everybody were pretty blind-sided,” Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard engineering technician Shad Shinkawa said.
“There was always that hope that maybe Congress would come through and possibly have some sort of continuing resolution, but that wasn’t the case,” Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard engineering technician Troy McCloud said.
With reality settling in, their concerns grow as to how long they can hold out without a paycheck.
“I’m married, have kids. I think I’m typical young family. We do have some money saved up, but depending on how long this goes on, in the back of your mind you wonder how long you can keep up with your savings,” Shinkawa said.
“Like everybody else, we’re relying two incomes, and so we’re just trying to make the best of our situation. For me personally, I feel like it’s something that’s really out of my hands,” Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard drydock technician Michael Chu said.
It’s a helpless feeling knowing all they can do is wait. The threat of a federal government shutdown always looms when Congress is in a stalemate. Workers are frustrated and hope that when they do come back to work, they don’t have to keep facing the same threat.
“It seems like we’re in this cycle of the string getting pulled and this time the string broke, so actually are in the government shutdown. And I just want to get out of this cycle of where we don’t know what’s gonna happen, if there’s gonna be a budget issue,” McCloud said.
The last federal government shutdown was 17 years ago. That one lasted three weeks.