The Defense Department has promised uniformity in its implementation of civilian furloughs.
“We're going in together, we're coming out together,” Secretary Chuck Hagel said when announcing the final furlough plan in May. “No one service, no one's going to be protected more than anybody else.”
While about 650,000 Defense civilians will begin taking unpaid leave next week, however, about 18,000 German citizens employed by the department have not only escaped furloughs, but negotiated a raise.
Foreign nationals stationed outside the contiguous United States are exempted from furloughs, according to a memo sent by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, because “their situation varies greatly by county/region.” The German civilians employed by the Pentagon recently struck a deal with the department that will total $16 million in 2013 and 2014, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., said in a letter to Hagel expressing concern over the decision.
The union representing the German civilians, Ver.di, organized a series of strikes demanding higher pay after not receiving a raise in three years, according to Stars and Stripes. American Defense civilians have also had their pay frozen for three years, and face 11 days of furloughs starting the week of July 8.
“This is not the message we should be sending to the hardworking Americans who are supporting our military on bases across the United States and around the world,” Hagan wrote in her letter.
Hagan said 19,000 Defense civilians in her home state of North Carolina will be furloughed, resulting in a 20 percent weekly pay cut for 11 consecutive weeks and a net loss of $64 million.
The German civilians won a one-time payment of 500 Euro, an extra day off on Dec. 31 and a 30 Euro per month raise beginning in January 2014.