Sequester bites for Arsenal workers


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Posted Online: July 05, 2013, 9:59 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND -- Thousands of Department of Defense workers at the Rock Island Arsenal will start taking unpaid days off on Monday as sequestration takes an estimated $18 million bite from their pay.

The 6,000 workers to be affected here will lose an average of $3,000 each as they take 11 furlough days over the next three months, according to a statement from Local 15 of the American Federation of Government Employees.

"These furloughs are unprecedented," AFGE Local 15 President Steve Beck said in a statement. "DoD employees have never been told to stand down while a war is being fought."

The across-the-board spending reductions known as sequestration were triggered when Congress failed to agree on a deficit reduction program.

The furloughs come on top of a three-year wage freeze for the Arsenal's civilian workforce, Mr. Beck said.

An estimated 500,000 work hours will be lost across the different commands at the Arsenal as a result of the sequester, according to the AFGE. The Arsenal is the biggest employer in the Quad- Cities.

Nationwide, about 680,000 DoD employees will take unpaid days off because of sequestration as part of an overall $37 billion in cutbacks across the defense budget this year.

The Pentagon originally had planned 22 furlough days, but the number was later cut to 11 days under pressure from Congress.

Congress approved legislation to give the Pentagon authority to move some funds around in an effort to avoid furloughs.Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, said she was "deeply disappointed" that furloughs were going ahead despite the effort by lawmakers.

"I've been against the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration from the very beginning because of the negative impact they could have on the jobs and economy of our region," she said in a recent statement.

Separately at the Arsenal, the workforce is being trimmed through buyouts.

At the Joint Munitions and Technology Center, 200 buyouts were offered and 98 people accepted the early retirement incentive by the deadline, according to JMTC spokesman Rhys Fullerlove.

Mr. Beck said "in excess of 300 jobs have already been eliminated"at the Arsenal since the start of the fiscal year. The number could not be verified with officials at the Arsenal on Friday.




















 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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