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AFGE Statement on Defense Department Furlough Plan
Monday, May 20, 2013 - 4:13pm
WASHINGTON (May 14, 2013) — J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, today issued the following statement in reaction to the Department of Defense’s plan to furlough civilian federal employees.
“The administration’s latest furlough announcement, 11 days for Department of Defense civilians, is absolutely outrageous. It is well-known that the Army spent $2.5 billion more on service contracts than it was allowed under law, a sum that could have been, and more important, should have been used to offset furloughs not only in the Army, but in the rest of DOD as well.
“The administration’s announcement is a decision to undermine our nation’s military readiness. It is a decision to reduce productivity and raise, not lower, costs in the Department. It is also a decision to ignore the efforts put forth by numerous DOD components and agencies to devise methods for absorbing sequestration cuts without causing the negative consequences of furloughs.
“The Defense Department’s decision is a slap in the face to its civilian workforce, most of whom live paycheck-to-paycheck, and are barely able to pay their bills without the additional challenge of furloughs. DOD’s workforce is not only the government’s largest, it also includes the largest number of hourly and low-paid federal workers. Many earn less than $12 per hour. Furloughs of 11 days will amount to a pay cut of 20 percent for the remainder of the year, and combined with three years of frozen pay levels, these cuts will send many into dire straits.
“The administration’s decision to impose such enormous economic pain on its own workforce, while continuing to lavish billions in new and unnecessary spending on wealthy contractors, is utterly shameful.”