EROS Workers Waiting For Shutdown Deal
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
October 15, 2013 4:35 PM
It's now week three of the US Government shutdown and congress continues to attempt to strike a deal to bring hundreds of thousands of workers back to their offices. Hundreds of those furloughed employees work for EROS in Sioux Falls and they're getting frustrated, after being out of the office for two weeks.
The EROS complex sits silent with nearly all work stopped.
Two weeks ago everyone was told to go home and wait for congress to strike a deal that would reopen the federal government. Two weeks later, the line of cars leaving, has yet to return.
The director of EROS isn't overjoyed as he stays home on a Tuesday afternoon.
“All 609 people who work at EROS are furloughed,” said Kelly.
Frank Kelly flips back and forth between the 24 hour news networks and C-Span, hoping to hear word of a deal.
“I don't feel a frustration. I just feel, I want to get back to work,” said Kelly.
And so do the hundreds of other people who collect and analyze data that come from the two Landsat orbiters.
“They just want to do the mission. They just want to make sure that everything that EROS does is done,” said Kelly.
Small teams are only called back to the facility north of Sioux Falls during emergencies. Like when a tropical cyclone slammed into the Indian coast. Images taken by EROS were needed.
“They're there for as many hours as they need and then they're deactivated and they're back on furlough,” said Kelly.
While not being able to return may be hard for some, a lack of paycheck takes a bigger toll.
“Frustrations in terms of the uncertainty and not knowing when or if we get paid,” said Kelly.
All there is to now is to sit, watch, and wait.
“Every day is a Sunday because you don't know when you're going back to work and you're not sure if tomorrow is going to be your Monday,” said Kelly.