No depot layoffs, furloughs expected until end of March
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Mar 01, 2013 | 10348 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
No Anniston Army Depot workers were laid off or furloughed after massive federal budget cuts began Friday. But depot and union officials expect that situation to change at the end of the month.

Depot spokeswoman Clester Burdell said Friday that none of the facility’s 370 temporary employees had been laid off yet. The dismissal of all temporary civilian employees at depots and bases across the country is part of the U.S. Army’s plans to save money due to the budget cuts, referred to as sequestration.

“The 370 temporary employees’ appointments do not expire until March 30,” Burdell said. “At that time, it is expected that they will not be extended.”

The Army also plans to initiate furloughs for all its civilian employees due to sequestration.

“No depot employees are receiving furlough notices today,” Burdell said Friday.

Shrene Funderburg, president of AFGE Local 1945, the local union that represents the depot workers, said furloughs are not expected to begin until the end of the month. The depot has 2,884 permanent employees who could potentially be furloughed.

“If they have to do it, it won’t be until the end of March,” Funderburg said.

Burdell noted that most depot employees will receive a 30-day notice if their furloughs will be 22 or fewer discontinuous work days.

The nearly $85 billion in budget cuts began Friday and will slice funds from most areas of government in the coming months — from defense to education. Congress approved the sequestration in 2011 as a measure of last resort to force legislators to pass a better deficit reduction plan. Congress failed to meet the deadline, however.

“These people are not looking out for people’s best interests,” Funderburg said of Congress.

Funderburg said the union will continue to hold town hall meetings and organize petitions and phone calls for legislators in protest of sequestration.

The Anniston Army Depot employs 5,400 people and repairs and refurbishes military combat vehicles and small arms weapons.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.
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