Union Cries Foul Over Navy’s Furlough Exemptions

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh is one of the Navy's ships. The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh is one of the Navy's ships. United States Navy

A union representing federal employees has charged the Navy with circumventing Defense Department guidance and exempting civilian managers from sequestration furloughs, though Navy officials denied any wrongdoing.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers pointed to a Defense memo that said furlough exceptions would be limited to civilians deployed in a combat zone or to protect the “safety of life or property.”

However, after talking to Naval Sea Systems Command -- the largest of the Navy’s five system commands -- IFPTE said it became clear the Navy was exempting more employees than the Pentagon had deemed necessary. At all shipyards, IFPTE said, an overwhelming majority of those exempted from furloughs would be management personnel.

Furloughs resulting from sequestration -- across-the-board cuts that went into effect March 1 and threaten to force 800,000 civilian Defense employees to take unpaid leave if a replacement plan is not agreed upon -- could begin at Defense as soon as April 26.

The union added many employees exempted from furloughs are already on “recall status” -- meaning they could be called back to work at any moment, be it a weekday, weekend or holiday, in the event of an emergency -- so there is no need to exempt them.

“If furlough[s] need to occur then they should be shared by everyone,” IFPTE President Gregory Junemann wrote in the letter. “Shared sacrifice can only be achieved if essential exceptions are made ONLY where staggering the absence is not possible and all employees -- management and non-management alike -- share evenly in distributing the burden of furlough[s].”

Chris Johnson, a NAVSEA spokesman, told Government Executive he is not aware of any exceptions that contradict the guidance.

“We are following DoD policy that severely limits exemptions,” Johnson said. “There are no significant exemptions at NAVSEA that would be different from any Defense activity.” 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.