Oak Ridge residents, business owners worried about Y-12 shutdown

Oak Ridge residents, business owners worried about Y-12 shutdown

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The Oak Ridge community is on edge about another looming impact of the government shutdown, the closure of Y-12 National Security Complex. The Oak Ridge community is on edge about another looming impact of the government shutdown, the closure of Y-12 National Security Complex.
The closure threat hits home for the employees of Dean's Restaurant & Bakery in Oak Ridge, where around 40 percent of customers are federal government employees. The closure threat hits home for the employees of Dean's Restaurant & Bakery in Oak Ridge, where around 40 percent of customers are federal government employees.
"We want to remain busy, we hope to be busy, it's just a little scary right now," said restaurant owner Dean Russell. "We want to remain busy, we hope to be busy, it's just a little scary right now," said restaurant owner Dean Russell.
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann says he's suspended his own pay and wants Y-12 workers to know he's fighting every day to reopen the government. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann says he's suspended his own pay and wants Y-12 workers to know he's fighting every day to reopen the government.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - The Oak Ridge community is on edge about another looming impact of the government shutdown, the closure of Y-12 National Security Complex.  

Y-12 officials got the word Monday, according to a memo sent to employees, saying the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is beginning an "orderly shutdown" due to the U.S. government shutdown.  

The shutdown could affect 4,800 workers, representing lots of pay, tax revenue and customers for the area.  

The closure threat hits home for the employees of Dean's Restaurant & Bakery in Oak Ridge, where around 40 percent of customers are federal government employees, according to owner Dean Russell.  

"We want to remain busy, we hope to be busy, it's just a little scary right now," said Russell.

The Atomic Trades and Labor Council is a union representing about 2,100 hourly workers at Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The union tells 6 News that October 17 could be the last day of work at Y-12 for those employees unless a budget agreement is reached between now and then.   

Right now, there's no indication on how many at Y-12 would be laid off or furloughed.  

Many agree if a shutdown takes place, it would have a devastating impact not just in Oak Ridge, but all across the region.    

"That has a ripple effect that goes through small businesses to mom and pop shops to retailers, to department stores to professional firms and also affects charitable organizations," said Parker Hardy, president and CEO of Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.  

The Y-12 facility has an indirect impact of $3 billion on the area, and many of the 2,000 subcontractors are located in East Tennessee.  

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce estimates 50,000 people live and work in Oak Ridge during the day, which creates a ripple effect of the furloughs hit the entire federal complex.  

"That's 50,000 people that won't be in our restaurants, that's 50,000 people that won't see our dentists and doctors," said Hardy.  

The chamber says local banks and credit unions have contacted them over concerns of many workers getting a steady paycheck, but many hope the fear is only short-term.  

"We hope it doesn't last very long and people come back to work and earn their money," said Russell.  

Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann represents Oak Ridge and says he's pushed congressional leaders to put forward a bill that will fund Y-12 contract workers with no strings attached. He says all that's needed is approval by fellow lawmakers.    

"House Resolution 76 will deal with funding of Y-12 and it's clean. So the only impediment is the United States Senate and Harry Reid. Let's hope he does what he should do, what he's not done with federal workers when we passed our bill last week a clean bill to pay furloughed federal workers. The senate has refused to take that up that's outrageous," Fleischmann said.

Congressman Fleischmann says he's glad that the president spoke Tuesday with house majority leader John Boehner.  

Fleischmann says he's suspended his own pay and wants Y-12 workers to know he's fighting every day to reopen the government.

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