Federal workers glad to be back - Tucson News Now

Federal workers glad to be back

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The federal employees who have been furloughed the past 16 days as non-essential workers, are now back at their desks, research and inspection jobs or patrolling the National Parks once again.

But the two weeks off, was far from a vacation.

"I was always watching the news and wondering if I'm going back to work any time soon," says Olivia Wells, an IRS employee. "I'm glad to be back."

During the days off, they knew they could be called back any time, at a moments notice, which made making plans or taking trips off limits.

And then there was the anxiety.

"I was on pins a needles waiting to go back to work," Wells says.

And that anxiety could be played out again in the next couple of months. The agreement reached in Washington opens the door for another stand off after the first of the year.

"I think it could be a little demoralizing," Wells says. "It would be terrible."

The workers are also waiting on word when they will be paid for the furloughed days.

The agreement says they will be paid "when practicable."

However there are some who won't be able to make up for lost pay.

Mario Medina was pushing a cart around downtown filled with soft drinks and snacks to fill vending machines.

Seven of those are in the federal building which was all but abandoned for the past two weeks.

"We're playing the catch up game right now," he says.

They'll try to make up for lost revenue but likely will have to eat the losses.

Things are better for Alex Laponsie, who needed records and transcripts for his Pell Grants and he was up against a deadline.

"School starts next week so I was trying to get things in order," he says. "I'm glad it was taken care of yesterday." 

He came to the federal building earlier in the week only to be told it's still closed.

However, today, he rode his bicycle away from the federal building with records firmly in hand.

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