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About 20 of the plant's 800 employees are facing furloughs. The remainder work for BAE Systems and their jobs have been funded through a contract.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
As a deadlock in Washington kept the possibility of a government shutdown at midnight very much alive Monday, officials at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Pulaski County were bracing for what could be a difficult few days.
About 20 of the plant’s 800 employees are facing furloughs if lawmakers didn’t work out a deal by midnight, according to Justine Barati, spokeswoman for the U.S. military’s Joint Munitions Command.
The 4,000-acre ammunition plant on the Montgomery County/Pulaski County border is one of the largest employers in the New River Valley. It is one of the few domestic producers of military-grade nitrocellulose and a large manufacturer of the military explosive.
All of those who would be out of work are government employees. The remaining personnel work for BAE Systems, which the U.S. military contracts to run the facility. Since their positions have already been funded through a multi year contract, they would be unaffected by a shutdown.
Lt. Col. Luis Ortiz, commander of the installation, will be the only government employee left to make sure the contract is carried out according to plan.
Although the shutdown would make operations more complicated, Barati said they don’t expect it to affect the plant’s output.
“We don’t expect this to be a forever thing, so in the short term, he [Ortiz] thinks he can handle it,” she said. “We’re all hoping that they come to a resolution.”
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