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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.


















 




Local events heading








  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






(More History)