FT. RUCKER, AL-- Beginning on July 8th, nearly 2,200 Department of Army civilians on Fort Rucker will be asked to not work one day a week through the end of September.
That's an order from the Department of Defense as installations across the country feel the pinch of a tightening a budget.
Jean Hansen, Stewart AFGE Local 1815 said, "I am a GS13...I am an air trafficker so I am probably going to lose about $1,000 a month...Because a 20 percent cut and that's off the board and by the time you net it's probably a little bit more than 20 percent because you are also losing annual leave, sick leave, and your savings contribution matching is also going to be dropped down. So it is not just a straight 20 percent pay cut, it's other benefits are being cut too."
Despite sequestration, the number of pilots and flight training hours won't be effected thanks to flexibility inside the DOD budget.
But, the amount of people to train the pilots will be affected.
Kevin McPherson, Quality Assurance Evaluator said, "For the 21-81's that work out on the flight line who actually carry students each day they are going to be affected by having a guest instructor for the day when their instructor is out, and may potentially be more than one. And it is difficult to understand with the number of people they have, how they are going to be able to fill those seats and who is going to augment them. Whether it is going to be a contractor or a military person. Because there are rules about who can replace us when we are on furlough."
Hansen said, "If I am an instructor pilot and you are the contractor. I am off on Wednesday. You cannot come in and take my students. That is illegal."
Fort Rucker officials maintain their flight school will continue to live up to it's name, as a center of excellence.
Lisa Eichhorn, Public & Congressional Affairs Office said, "The intent is continue to train so we have worked with our instructor pilots to insure that there are instructors there everyday and that our students will continue to get their full training everyday. That was something that we felt was extremely important to our nation to insure that we continue to feed those go to war units with students. So that is our top priority."
Fort Rucker says they have been holding financial preparedness classes the past two months. And if an employee feels overwhelmed when that first paycheck comes in, there are resources and help available. Seeing their department head is their best option.
The union and management of Fort Rucker sat down to negotiate terms of the furloughs. The union claims they did not reach an agreement, but management says there is one.
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