WASHINGTON – The union representing civilian Defense workers at Selfridge Air National Guard Base is seeking answers regarding a plan to slash most of the maintenance crew at the Michigan base.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents nearly 270,000 Defense Department civilian employees nationwide, has sent letters to U.S. representatives and senators seeking their help in getting information from military leaders regarding the cuts, which were announced to employees in April.
Employees were told that 95 of 141 positions in the 127th Wing’s Civil Engineering Squadron were to be cut. These employees perform a range of vital maintenance functions for the base’s more than 200 buildings and 3,000 acres of land, including aircraft runways.
“Personnel cuts of this magnitude to the 127th CES would have a profoundly adverse effect on the base operations of Selfridge ANGB,” said Alan Kadrofske, AFGE’s legislative representative, in a Aug. 16 letter to Sen. Gary Peters. Similar letters were sent to other members of the Michigan congressional delegation.
Since employees were informed about the planned cuts, officials with AFGE Local 2077 have attempted to find out more details about the cuts, including how the decision was made to propose these cuts, when and how the cuts would be carried out, and how Selfridge will continue to operate without these maintenance positions.
“We have had several meetings with senior military leaders here at the base but haven’t gotten clear answers to the many questions we have about these job cuts,” Local 2077 President Jon Suminski said. “We’re hoping our representatives in Congress can help us get the answers that employees are desperately seeking.”
More than 4,000 employees work at the base, which contributes $825 million annually to the local economy, according to a 2014 annual report from the Michigan National Guard, which operates the base. The base supports three separate Major Commands and is home to both the A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog, and the KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueler. The base also hosts more than 40 tenants representing every branch of the military as well as the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.