WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to eliminate additional unpaid furlough days for department employees.
In response to reports the Department of Defense is considering reducing the number of announced furlough days, President Cox sent a letter to Hagel urging him to end the furloughs entirely.
“AFGE appreciates that sequestration has imposed onerous burdens on the department. However, furloughs have too often been used by the Pentagon to send certain political messages about sequestration to Congress rather than to generate the savings required by sequestration,” Cox wrote.
It is a well-known fact that the Navy had enough money on hand to avoid furloughs altogether, and apparently so did the Air Force. Yet DoD has imposed furloughs indiscriminately across the department – even going to far as to furlough working capital funded employees who are financed entirely through sales revenue rather than direct appropriations.
“The department’s policy on furloughs has been an abject failure. Pentagon officials claim $2 billion in savings from furloughs, which amounts to four-tenths of one percent of the department’s FY13 budget. However, the impact of indiscriminate, across-the-board furloughs on civilian employees, many of whom live from paycheck-to-paycheck, has been severe,” Cox wrote.
“I ask you to take this opportunity not just to reduce the onerous impact of furloughs on civilian employees, but to eliminate that impact entirely.”
A copy of the letter is posted here: http://afgeunionblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/ltr-to-sec-hagel-on-furloughs1.pdf.