WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reduced the number of announced furlough days for DoD employees from 11 to six:
“AFGE has argued from the start that the Department of Defense furloughs were always the worst possible way for the department to absorb sequestration’s cuts. The secretary’s announcement suggests that he has finally realized that furloughs are costly in terms of dollars, readiness, and morale.
“The administration is finally listening to our AFGE activists, who have been flooding the White House and congressional offices with stories of personal hardship and the ways in which furloughs have undermined military readiness.
“The terrible economic harm and injustice that has already been done to the 650,000 DoD civilians who should have never been furloughed has yet to be addressed. I am calling on Secretary Hagel to take immediate action to reimburse the furloughed employees for the six days of income they have lost.
“The hardworking men and women who support our military were exploited by Pentagon officials to send a political message to Congress about sequestration. Now that these same officials have admitted that the furlough was unnecessary, the only fair thing to do is to make full financial restitution to the employees who were harmed.”