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 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet.
1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.






(More History)