Impending “fiscal cliff” could impact Arsenal

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Jobs could be on the line in the Quad Cities if a deal isn't reached soon in Washington on the fiscal cliff.

The Rock Island Arsenal, for one, could be negatively impacted if employees are forced to take unpaid time off.

There are 22 days and counting until a decision needs to be made to avoid going off the fiscal cliff.

If tax cuts expire on January 1st, everything from small businesses, to state agencies, to the federal government will see impacts, including the Department of Defense and subsequently the Rock Island Arsenal.

"Management all the way up and down the line, they're not getting any information from their higher ups,” said Randy Donnelly V.P. of AFGE Local 2119. “I think everyone's trying to avoid it to be perfectly honest."

What local union reps do know is if there's no budget in place by the end of the year, unpaid time off, known as furloughs, would be placed on all government employees as mandated by federal law.

"Reporter: How many employees do you think will be affected, here locally? Randy: I really, honestly, don't know."

A study by the National Association of Manufacturers indicates that across-the-board budget cuts to the Department of Defense would cost approximately 1 million jobs nationwide and Illinois is among the top 10 states to be impacted, with more than 3,500 jobs on the line.

"We've been close to the brink before,” said Donnelly. “But, there's always been an agreement on both sides."

If no agreement is made on time and the worst-case scenario becomes reality-

"We’ll obligate and do what we have to do and get the work accomplished as we've always done," he said.

In September, the White House released a report on the impact of cuts to the Department of Defense.

Congressman Bobby Schilling's office said in response:

"(the report) reiterates the need for the president to join us in working to avoid the cuts his own report describes as `deeply destructive to national security.”

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