(CRANE) - Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1415 - representing about 1,700 workers at NSA Crane - and other Crane employees will host a press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday to discuss the economic impact the federal sequestration will have on the entire region if a solution isn't worked out quickly in Congress.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, the press conference will be conducted in front of the Crane Gate in protest of sequestration, furloughs and the continuation of a three-year pay freeze, according to AFGE Local Secretary/Treasurer Mary F. Crow.
"We just want some awareness to make people understand how bad this is, and at the rate it is going, we (Crane) are not going to meet our objective to support the military," Crow told the Greene County Daily World.
In AFGE's view, the three-year pay freeze has already saved the government a significant amount of money.
"We feel like since they froze our pay for the last three years, the government employees already saved $22 billion. With Crane being a working, capital-funded organization we've already been funded to do the work," Crow said, "We don't understand the point of all of this. With Congress, one of their main jobs is to approve a budget for this country and they need to start compromising and do their job."
The unpaid furloughs are expected to start the week of April 26 and will continue one day a week for an estimated 22 weeks, unless an agreement in Congress is approved, Crow said.
"This just doesn't affect union members. This affects everybody -- managers, SES (executive directors), anybody who is a government employee is going to get furloughed," Crow said. "The only ones here at Crane that are not affected is the military."
Crow says the number of actual military personnel on base is low - between 20 and 30 individuals.
According to Crow, the impact of the furloughs is going to have far-reaching impacts on the entire region where the workers live and shop.
"With Crane being one of the largest employers in the state, and everyone is losing 20 percent of their pay, it's going to affect everybody in the surrounding communities," she stressed. "So AFGE is begging people, even if they don't work at Crane, to write their Senators and Congressmen stopping sequestration because it's going to effect schools and everything."
Crow said compromise on the part of both political parties is needed to work out this dilemma.
"If you are in a marriage you have to compromise. If you have a job you have to compromise. Life is about compromise," Crow said. "The ones that are saying these furloughs aren't going to hurt anybody obviously don't live in this community. I think Greene, Knox, Daviess, Martin and Lawrence counties are going to be extremely affected."
NSA Crane, with 3,991 workers, is a major civilian employer, including 2,724 at NSWC Crane and 770 at Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
Some layoffs have already started.
All temporary and term employees are being laid off when their contracts expire. Off-base contractors are ironically filling some of those positions, Crow pointed out.
The impact is likely to be significant on the world's third largest Naval base. The employee's disposable income will get tighter, Crow said.
"If people lose 20 percent of their pay, they are giving up the extras. They are going to quit using extra gas. They are going to quit eating out. They are going to quit going to high school ballgames. All of the extras are going to be gone and all of the small businesses are going to be hurting."
AFGE is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers across the country.
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