Womack Army Medical Center preparing for possible cuts in workforce

Categories: Retirees

A union leader representing federal employees said Tuesday that the Fort Bragg hospital had given notice of intentions to cut 208 employees by February. Jonathan Steele, the president of Local 1770 of the American Federation of Government Employees, wouldn't provide a copy of the notice.

Womack's statement Wednesday included no numbers but said the hospital is reviewing all military and civilian positions. Some of the hospital's civilian personnel budget is unfunded, spokeswoman Shannon Lynch said.

"Womack must reduce spending for the next fiscal year partially by consolidating positions and reducing staffing," the statement said. "We are closely looking at all positions to ensure the least amount of impact on employees and patient care as these positions are considered above our current civilian personnel authorizations."

Womack's commander has offered voluntary early retirement and voluntary separation incentives and is reviewing applications, the hospital said. Womack also will "make every attempt" to move employees into vacant positions before laying people off through a reduction in force, she said. Employees who lose their jobs would be able to obtain benefits through the Civilian Personnel Office and the Army Benefits Center-Civilian.

The federal budget cuts known as sequestration have hit the Fort Bragg community hard. The Department of Defense was dealt a $37 billion cut this fiscal year that resulted in an 11-day furlough for some 650,000 civilian defense workers - about 8,500 at Fort Bragg.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that it will cut the number of furlough days to six, but federal workers may face more furloughs in the next fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Fort Bragg has reduced hours at various clinics, stores and centers on post. Efforts to save money forced the cancellation Fort Bragg's 30-year-old tradition of Independence Day fireworks.

The Defense Department could see an additional $52 billion hit to its budget in the next fiscal year, which could affect military readiness, reduce cost-of-living allowances for military overseas and cap future defense and military civilian pay raises.

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