FILE: Oct. 4, 2013: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel aboard the USS Stethem DDG 63 at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, a U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, outside of Tokyo.AP
The Pentagon on Sunday called back to work most of its roughly 400,000 civilian employees, based on administration lawyers’ legal interpretation of the recent government slimdown.
The order was given by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, five days after roughly 800,000 federals workers were sent home after Congress failed to reach a deal to fund the government.
Hagel said the decision to recall the workers is based on a Pentagon legal interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.
The measure was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama shortly before the slimdown began.
“Attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members,” Hagel said in a written statement. “This has been a very disruptive year for our people … .Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on.”
Hagel signaled earlier in the past week that Pentagon lawyers were trying to determine ways for some of the department's furloughed civilians to get back to work.
In a memorandum from Hagel to other high-ranking military officials and obtained by Fox News, the Defense secretary states member of the military reserves and full-time National Guardsman are among those being asked to return.
(Reuters) - The largest U.S. freight carriers will begin providing medical benefits to the spouses of gay union workers, a rail company coalition said on Wednesday, a day after two same-sex couples sued BNSF Railway for denying equal benefits.
The National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC), which represents BNSF Railway Co and other railroad companies in labor negotiations, said the freight haulers would provide dependent healthcare coverage to "eligible" same-sex spouses of railroad employees with coverage beginning on January 1.