Sequestration would bring furloughs for Arsenal's civilian staff


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Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 4:47 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
Civilian workers at the Rock Island Arsenal will be forced to take 22 unpaid days off this year if Congress does not find a way to avert automatic spending cuts before the March 1 deadline.

The furlough days would start in April after a 30-day notice has been given to the unions, said Randy Donnelly, vice president of Local 2119 of the American Federation of Government Employees at the Arsenal.

Already, 200 early retirement packages have been offered at the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, although it's still not known how many of the slots have been taken.

The contractor workforce at the Arsenal has been cut by 56 percent over the past year as a result of the drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq, said Arsenal spokesman Rhys Fullerlove.

Cutbacks at the Arsenal, the largest employer in the Quad Cities, will impact the wider local economy, Mr. Donnelly said. The unpaid time off -- known as furloughs -- would equal a 20 percent pay cut between April and September for civilian workers at the Arsenal.

An estimated 800,000 civilian workers across the country will be asked to take off unpaid days if the March 1 budget reduction is implemented.The automatic cutbacks, called "sequestration." would take $46 billion out of the Pentagon's $642 billion budget this year.

Negotiations to avoid the budget cutbacks are ongoing.U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, have both been vocal in their opposition to the automatic cutbacks and the impact they could have on the local economy.

But so far lawmakers have been unable to reach a compromise to avert sequestration.

However, if the March 1 deadline passes without a deal, the cutbacks could still be reversed later. Mr. Donnelly predicted the deadline would pass without agreement but lawmakers will be provoked into action once the impact on jobs becomes tangible.


















 



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  Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.








(More History)