Negotiating Civilian Furloughs

The furloughs expected for Defense Department civilian employees under budget sequestration have the potential to severely disrupt activity inside Air Force Materiel Command, since civilians comprise 77 percent of the command’s workforce, said AFMC head Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger. “So, clearly we will be impacted by furloughs,” said Wolfenbarger at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 21. She said command officials are still negotiating with the employee unions as to how to implement these furloughs. Pentagon leaders announced last week that such furloughs would be unavoidable if sequestration, which is set to kick in on March 1, drags on. The furloughs would likely begin in late April, they said. Wolfenbarger said the question is whether AFMC civilian employees would take the furloughs on consecutive days, which would have the most impact on the command, or break up the days, taking one day off a week for the rest of the fiscal year, she said. “We are not done with the union negotiations to figure out how to implement this, but it’s looking like the unions are moving more toward taking consecutive days,” said Wolfenbarger.