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 Tuesday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2013. There are 21 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: We give "the government" the benefit of our circulation free of charge, for two advertisements for mules, horses and forage. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The official board of the First Methodist Church voted to build a new church. 1913 -- 100 years ago: W.A. Reid was elected commander of Siboney Bay Camp No. 8, United Spanish War Veterans. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Blanche S. Osborne, of Rock Island, is the only woman in the city who is a member of the American Legion. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Rocket Barbershop Chorus, under the direction of Howard Mesecher, will present a concert of barbershop songs at the December meeting of the Woman's Club of Moline at 2 Saturday afternoon in Scottish Rite Cathedral. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Helen A. Stone, of Moline, traded her organ's bench for a seat in the pew when she retired as church organist of Union Congregational Church, Moline, recently. She's been playing either piano or organ for the church for 61 years.