Feedback: 'Vast Majority' Of Military Civilian Employees Could Be Furloughed

Thatincludesthe5,000civilianemployeesatFortDrum.
"Wehavenolegalauthoritytoexemptcivilianpersonnelfundingfromreductions,"PanettasaidinamessagetoDepartmentofDefense(DoD)employeesreleasedWednesdaymorning.
"Asaresult,"hesaid,"shouldsequestrationoccurandcontinueforasubstantialperiod,DoDwillbeforcedtoplacethevastmajorityofitscivilianworkforceonadministrativefurlough."
IfCongressandthepresidentdon'treachanagreementonhowtobalancethefederalbudget,across-the-boardbudgetcuts--calledsequestration--willgointoeffectMarch1.
TheDoDalonewouldbecutby$46billion.
Panettasaidcivilianemployeeswillreceive30-daynoticesiffurloughsarenecessary.
Pentagonofficialshavesaidthefurloughswouldbestructuredsothatnearlyall800,000civilianworkersloseonedayofworkperweekfor22weeks,probablystartinginlateApril.
Thatmeanstheywouldlose20percentoftheirpayoverthatperiod.
Panettasaidthedefensedepartmentisalreadyunderorderstocutspendingandthesequestrationcutswillonlymakethingsworse.
Thedefensesecretaryvowedtocontinuetofightagainstpersonnelcuts.
"Ourmostimportantassetatthedepartmentisourworld-classpersonnel,"hesaidinthestatement.
"Youarefightingeverydaytokeepourcountrystrongandsecure,andrestassuredthattheleadersofthisdepartmentwillcontinuetofightwithyouandforyou."
ForoneoftheunionsonFortDrum,thebriefingdidn'toffermuchinthewayofnewinformation.
Butitdidreinforcetheirfeelingthattheyarepawnsinagameofpolitics.
"It'sjustsadthatit'sgettingtothispoint.It'slikeabiggameofchicken,"saidLorenZeilnhofer,representativeforLocal4000oftheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployees.
Forworkersnow,thebigquestioniswhichoneswillbeexemptfromthefurlough.
"Thebasicguidanceislife,safetyandhealth.Butthathasn'tbeenfurtherdefinedsowereallydon'tknow,"saidZeilnhofer.DuringabriefingWednesdayafternoon,Pentagonofficialssaidmilitarypersonnelwouldhavetocutbackontraining.
Theysaidasaresult,two-thirdsofBrigadeCombatTeams(BCTs)wouldbeleftatlowerlevelsofreadiness.
"Itcouldaffecttheirabilitytodeploytoanewcontingencyifoneoccurredorifthisgoesonlongenough,eventoAfghanistan,"saidRobertHale,UnderSecretaryofDefense.
That'sbecausecivilianssupportthesoldiers.
"Wehavepeoplethatworkontheranges,thatworkinequipment,computers.Itrunsthegamut,"saidZeilnhofer.
There'sstilltimeforadealinWashington,butnosignofoneintheworks.
StatementFromOwens
Inastatement,northcountryCongressmanBillOwenssaidCongresshasallowedpoliticshinderprogressontheissueforfartoolong.
"ToprotectmiddleclassjobsandimportantmilitaryassetslikeFortDrum,wemustgettoworkfindingaresponsiblepathtobudgetcuts,"Owenssaid.Owenssayshesupportswhathecalls"commonsensesolutions"tocutfederalspending,likeaproposaltoeliminateduplicationacrossgovernmentservicesorallowingMedicaretonegotiatedrugpricesliketheVAdoesalready.
"Icallonbothpartiestoworktogethertoputtheseandothersolutionsonthetableinsearchofcommongroundandaresponsiblefixtoavoidsequestration."


Join AFGE Today

BECOME A MEMBER

Vote 2018

Weekend of Action

Fight Back the EOs

AFGE Events

Event Calendar is for Members Only. Please Log In to see our calendar of events.

LOG IN!

SUBSCRIBE Latest news & info