Early retirement packages are being offered to 200 workers at the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center.
The JMTC employs about 1,500 blue- and white-collar workers, meaning the workforce would be cut by 13 percent if all of the early retirement slots are filled.
A lump sum payment of up to $25,000 will be made to workers whose applications for early retirement are accepted.
"We did this to position the Rock Island Joint Manufacturing &Technology Center to be an economical option to the army and the Joint Services during a time of decreasing defense spending," said Rock Island Arsenal spokesman Rhys Fullerlove.
The early retirement program has been planned for a year, Mr. Fullerlove said, and has "nothing to do with the budget cuts or sequestration."
As the war in Afghanistan continues to wind down and with the war in Iraq now over, defense spending is expected to fall in the coming years.
Congress has until the end of next month to find a way to avert the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration that would cut billions from defense spending.However, there's bipartisan opposition to cutting the defense budget.
Mr. Fullerlove said the JMTC reserved the right to turn down applicants for early retirement if they are from critical positions. The window to apply for the program opened Jan. 22 and will close Feb. 5, and Mr. Fullerlove said he could not say how many applications have been received so far.
Today is Monday, May 20, the 140th day of 2013. There are 225 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A petition is being circulated asking the city council to order awell bored in Market Square. It would be a great accommodation to the public. 1888 -- 125 years ago: At 1 p.m. on May 18 the Mississippi River flooded its banks atRock Island and destroyed the warehouse of the Rock Island Lumber Co. and damagedRock Island Arsenal power plant. Total loss is estimated at $100,000. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Residents of Sough Rock Island Township are circulating apetition favoring the annexation of that area to the City of Rock Island. 1938 -- 75 years ago: A group of state members of the National Grandmothers Clubmeeting in Rock Island are making plans to petition for the observance of a NationalGrandmothers Day. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Deere and Co. reported today that its U.S. and Canadian sales forthe first half of the 1963 fiscal year set an all time record of $323,716.628. 1988 -- 25 years ago: William G. Lawrence, first administrative director, has retired fromPECO Enterprises, Inc. Prior to his service at PECO, Mr. Lawrence was the civilianpersonnel officer at the Rock Island Arsenal.