NASA Contractor Pays Furloughed Custodians During Partial Government Shutdown

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida - Most of the 95 custodians who clean the facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida have not worked at their job in almost a month.

But according to their government contractor, none of the workers have missed a paycheck.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Rosalind Weiss, community relations manager for Brevard Achievement Center, or BAC. “And we can do it because we are fiscally sound.”

Weiss says the BAC, a non-profit government contractor employing mostly disabled people, is dipping into its reserves to keep paying its custodial workers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

According to the BAC spokesperson, the Rockledge, Florida-based 501(c)(3) employs roughly 772 people in Florida, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Four weeks ago, NASA sent 78 BAC custodians home along with most of the center’s 2,000 civil servants and roughly 6,000 government contractors.

The partial federal government shutdown affects NASA contractors more than defense contractors because the federal government considers most of NASA’s operations non-essential.

But unlike the vast majority of furloughed workers, BAC’s custodians continue to receive their regular paychecks.

Weiss says their 78 furloughed custodians are still uneasy about the partial government shutdown. “They are all nervous” Weiss said.

“We are going to pay them as long as we can” Weiss added, “but if the shutdown goes too much longer, we may not have the funds to continue.”

Weiss says 16 custodians and one supervisor are still working at the Cape to support the small number of essential NASA workers who must remain on duty to protect life and property at Kennedy Space Center.