Local News

Aug 6, 2013 5:29 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Department of Defense Civilian Furloughs Reduced to Only 6 Days

CORPUS CHRISTI - Civilian employees at Corpus Christi Army Depot, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and NAS-Kingsville are looking forward to fewer days without pay after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announce furlough days will be reduced from 11 to 6 for all installations.

The mandatory furloughs took effect in early July. They impacted the lives of all civilian employees at military installations across the country.

This week will mark the 5th day employees would have an unpaid day off. They'll still have one unpaid day next week.

The Associated Press reports officials said they were able to identify about $1.5 billion in new savings. About $1 billion of that was used to buy back the five furlough days.

"I want to thank our civilian workforce for their patience and continued dedication to our mission during these extraordinarily tough times," Hagel said in a letter to top military and defense officials Tuesday. "I regret the difficulties they and their families had to face during this furlough period."

"I was gonna lose quite a bit of money, I was going to lose about almost 24-hundred over the 11 weeks. Now I'm looking at half that," says CCAD employee James Vaughn.

The union had fought for weeks to avoid the furloughs, including lobbying to have the depot exempted from further unpaid days because the facility can rebuild helicopters cheaper than the Army buys them. That means the depot makes money for the Pentagon.

"We now can move forward and concentrate on our support that we do out here at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, and that's that soldier, airman, sailor, and Marine," says union president Joe Gonzalez.

According to the Associated Press, J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, urged Defense Secretary Hagel to reimburse the furloughed employees for the six days they have lost.

Civilian employees are not completely in the clear though. There is the looming spectre of possible furloughs again next year, especially if the budget issues in Washington don't get resolved.

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