Local News

Oct 9, 2013 5:44 PM

CCAD Workers Wait and Worry While Congress Argues Budget

CORPUS CHRISTI - With the government shutdown and the possibility of going over the debt limit more budget cuts could be on the way. The Army says that could be a problem especially for Corpus Christi Army Depot workers.

While decisions about how to handle the budget burden are made thousands of miles away in Washington, workers at the CCAD are watching, waiting, and worrying about their jobs.

"Under the sequester we've lost about as of now about 40 folks," says Colonel Garner Pogue. Even though the government shutdown hasn't directly affected CCAD, budget cuts have.

The Army estimates its lost $1.7 billion dollars overall that would normally be spent on repairing and refurbishing aircraft. With the looming threat of more furloughs, a lot of workers are concerned about their futures.

"When you have someone who is a turbine engine mechanic who is repairing the turbine engines that we hang on these helicopters, and he's been doing it for 20 years and he leaves the depot to go work in the oilfields, that is an impact. That is not a guy we can go out on the street and hire back immediately," says Col. Pogue.

Competition is tough due to the booming oil industry just up the road. Some of CCAD workers' highly specialized skills are in big demand there too.

"We are losing some younger, talented individuals to the local economy," says Pogue. No one knows where money will be cut yet because Congress still needs to reach a deal on the debt ceiling.

"These employees see what's happening elsewhere and it does give them pause, and I think, cause for concern," says Pogue.

For many employees, it's more than just a paycheck, it's the pride of working to keep the nation safe. But officials recognize that these are turbulent and trying times for a lot of their workers.

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