About 180 federal staffers working at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium facilities will continue to receive paychecks during the federal government shutdown — at least temporarily — the organization said in a statement Friday.
As the longest government shutdown in American history enters its 22nd day, the tribal health organization has said an agreement with the federal Indian Health Service will allow it to fund payroll for its “Civil Service employees and Commissioned Corps officers.” Shirley Young, a spokeswoman for ANTHC, said the agreement covered all federal staffers working in the organization’s facilities and programs. Many of these are pharmacists, doctors, nurses, engineers and environmental specialists, she said.
"We embrace this opportunity to take care of our staff who we entrust with the care of our people,” ANTHC president Andy Teuber said in the statement. “We look forward to a swift resolution of the federal shutdown.”
ANTHC employs about 3,000 people, most of whom are direct hires not affected by the shutdown, Young said.
Young declined to give details on how much the agreement will cost or where the funding will come from. There were also no immediate details on how long ANTHC will be able to continue providing paychecks to its federal staffers, she said.
“If the shutdown continues, we’ll be revisiting the duration that we’re able to sustain this,” Young said.
About 5,000 of Alaska’s 11,000 federal employees are estimated to be furloughed by the shutdown, according to the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents unions for federal workers.