The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

March 15, 2013

Crane workers protest upcoming cuts

Furlough notices go out next week

CRANE — Some workers at NSWC Crane protested in front of the base on Friday against upcoming sequester cuts.

Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1415 blocked off a corner of the town in front of the base’s visitors center to protest government cuts that will put many of the workers on furlough one day a week.

Meetings have been held at the base this week to discuss the cuts and official notices will be given to employees next week, base officials confirmed Friday. Crane is the hardest-hit area of the state in the sequester battle - about $36 million.

The sequester will cut the workers’ salaries 20 percent, according to Jimmy Colvin, president of the local union.

“That’s going to have a devastating effect on our employees in order to pay their mortgages, pay their car payments, electric, gas and put food on the table,” Colvin said. “This is going to have an effect on the local economy as well. We are going to have 20 percent less to spend.”

The cuts will start on the last week of April and last until the end of the current federal fiscal year in September for many at the 4,500-worker base. At the protest, workers said the sequester should not have happened.

“This sequestration and furlough could have been avoided,” Colvin said. “All they had to do was submit a budget, submit it to the president for signature and this would have been avoided.

Colvin, like many in the protest, believed their representatives betrayed them.

“We have been discriminated against and have been singled out, by the congressmen, to have the full impact of this on our backs,” Colvin said.

All the members had signs provided by the union saying “Stop Furloughs,” “Stop Sequester,” and “Stop Pay Freeze.” The group of about 30 walked next to the visitor’s center, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, sequester’s got to go.”

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