Arsenal workers could take 20% pay cut

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All federal employees, including 8,000 Arsenal workers, will be required to take furlough days or unpaid time off if Congress can't agree on a budget.

It translates to a 20-percent pay cut.

"I've got some members that could end up in a-rears, could increase their credit card debt," said Randy Donnelley, who’s the Vice President of AFGE Local 2119.

His bargaining unit includes 1,200 Arsenal machinists.

He’s currently devising a strategy to allocate the unpaid time off so that the process is fair for all of them.

"True, it's a day off,” said Donnelly. “But, it's a day off without pay and when you figure a 20-percent pay cut for the next 22 weeks, that's going to put a crimp in your pocket."

The only exceptions, Donnelly says, would be the Veterans Administration, civilians in combat operations and non-appropriated funds employees.

Local politicians took this week to address Washington's perceived inaction on looming sequestration.

"Some things are not going to happen immediately,” said Rep. Dave Loebsack, (D) Iowa. “It's going to take a little bit of time, but if the President and Congress can get together, I think a lot of these negative effects can be avoided."

It won't happen this week.

Congress isn't even in session.

"We should be getting to work on a budget that's going to help move our economy forward again," said Cheri Bustos, (D) Illinois 17th District.

Donnelly agrees.

"We just hope for the best. Hope Congress comes to its senses and comes up with a budget."

If no budget is reached, Donnelly says furloughs would start in April and continue until September.

Employees would take one day off a week, with no pay, for 22 weeks.

The money the Department of Defense would save with this, according to Donnelly, would be only about $5 billion of the $45 billion total shortfall.