Union Calls on Pentagon to Eliminate Furloughs

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. AFGE

A large federal employee union is calling on the Defense Department to completely eliminate furloughs for its civilian employees.

In a statement released Friday, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said he was “encouraged to hear” that the Pentagon was beginning to reconsider the prospect of civilian furloughs.  He said leaders in the military services “should be allowed to exercise” budget flexibility to reduce or eliminate the possibility of furloughs entirely.

"Forcing all employees off the job without pay for the same number of days out of some misguided notion of fairness is damaging to employees and undermines mission,” Cox said.

Defense originally said that it would be forced to furlough civilian employees for 22 days because of across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration. In late-March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the stopgap spending measure funding the government through the end of fiscal 2013 gave the Pentagon enough flexibility to cut the number of furlough days to 14.

An Associated Press report from Thursday said Defense leaders were in discussions to further reduce the number of furlough days for employees. The Navy especially has been adamant about completely eliminating furloughs for its employees, because it says that the short-term savings from furloughs would be overshadowed by higher costs in the long term. On Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Adm. Joseph Mulloy emphasized that furloughs would “have a dramatic impact” on the service’s equipment and readiness.

Other defense agencies have also begun canceling furloughs for their employees. According to a memo from Department of Defense Education Activity Director Marilee Fitzgerald to agency employees on Thursday -- and obtained by the Huffington Post -- teachers working at Defense’s schools will not be furloughed for the remainder of the school year.

Still, Defense spokeswoman Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde told Government Executive on Thursday that furloughs were going to be implemented “with consistency across the department.”

AFGE Defense Conference Chairman Don Hale said that the “game” the Pentagon is playing with the “lives and livelihood of civilian employees is a travesty.”

Hale added, "DoD has continuously said that they want to minimize the adverse impact that furloughs have on civilian employees, but what they are doing is having the opposite effect.”  

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

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

    Download

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