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Livermore Lab employees now on furlough

Workers at Sandia to start furloughs on Monday

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is closed today and Sandia National Laboratories will follow on Monday if the partial federal government shutdown continues.

According to a letter sent to employees at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and its California division located across East Avenue from the Livermore Lab, the National Nuclear Security Administration asked Sandia to close its operations Monday.

Sandia works under a contract with Lockheed-Martin Corp., a private contractor.

Operations at the Livermore Lab were shuttered yesterday, according to Lawrence Livermore lab spokeswoman Lynda Seaver.

Seaver said there are more than 6,000 employees at the Livermore lab and that the furloughs were "across the board."

She said by next Monday there would only be safety and security personnel remaining at the facility.

The rest of the week will be a holiday, and many employees will be using vacation days for remaining furlough days.

"We're taking it day by day," Seaver said. "That's all we can do."

The lab is sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration and federally funded, in part, by the U.S. Department of Energy.

In total, there are 13,000 working at the Livermore Lab, at Sandia, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park.

Thousands of researchers, engineers, scientists and other employees at these research centers are facing similar furloughs as existing funds run out and may not be paid, according to statement from Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin).

A group of politicians urged the Department of Energy to give "back pay" to employees once the shutdown ends in a bicameral and bipartisan

letter written Friday by Swalwell, along with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Democrat Congress members Zoe Lofgren, Mike Thompson and ,Barbara Lee.

The letter states, "Lab employees have expressed their concerns about the uncertainty they face and the economic hardship which would be caused by the furloughs."

Swalwell said that he will continued to ask for compensation "for people who do so much for our country on a daily basis and unfairly are being subjected to this uncertainty."

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News, contributed to this story.

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