Furloughed employees return to work at Luke Air Force Base without pay

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- All 412 civilian employees are returning to work at Luke Air Force Base on Monday after receiving an email over the weekend from the Air Force headquarters stating they need them back.

The catch is, as of right now, they won't get a paycheck until Congress passes a budget, which doesn't appear to be happening any time soon.

"My biggest concern is that this will drag on way too long," said civilian employee Macario Mora, who went back to work on Monday knowing he might not get paid for a while.

Mora took out a $25,000 loan just to make sure his family will be taken care of until he gets his back pay.

"Fortunately, I was able to take out a loan that's getting me through right now," Mora said. "I think we all hope this will end quickly because I know there are a lot of families out there that are hurting pretty badly."

Without the civilian help this past week, the airmen and women have had to do jobs outside their routine responsibilities.

"For the long-term missions of Luke Air Force Base and the mission in producing the world's greatest fighter pilots, every one of those civilians are critical to that mission accomplishment," said retired Air Force Cmdr. Rusty Mitchell.

While Congress battles a budget, the base will continue with its pilot training program, but all the non-essential training and supply shipments will still be on hold.

Luke isn't the only place getting some of its civilian employees back. Many furloughed employees returned to work at other bases and forts across the country and the Pentagon, as well.