A man runs up the 'gostra', a pole covered in grease, during the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian's, outside Valletta August 25, 2013. In the traditional 'gostra', a game stretching back to the Middle Ages, young men, women and children have to make their way to the top and try to uproot one of the flags to win prizes. From May to September in Malta, there is hardly any weekend when a town or a village is not celebrating the feast of its patron saint or other saints revered in different churches. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi (MALTA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TRAVEL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA
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“It would be inefficient for the board to begin adjudicating certain furlough appeals, only to discover that furlough appeals raising similar arguments, filed by similarly situated employees remain to be docketed,” the statement said.
The Defense Department has furloughed more than 640,000 civilian employees for up to six days in an effort to meet its cost-cutting targets under the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.
The MSPB said it has received more than 30,000 furlough appeals since March, when the government-wide austerity plan — approved by Congress and President Obama — went into effect. Civilian defense workers have filed 98 percent of the claims, the agency said.
The MSPB, which works with a staff of about 200 people, has docketed about 17,000 furlough cases, according to the agency’s statement.
The Pentagon initially warned defense workers that they may face up to 22 furlough days under the sequester, but the department dropped that number to 14, then 11, and finally six days after Congress granted the agency more budgeting flexibility.
Labor groups encouraged defense workers to appeal their furlough appeals to send a message to Washington that the employees would not “just roll over and take this lying down,” as an attorney for the American Federation of Government Employees said in July.