Target: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Goal: Condemn enforced furloughs on federal workers in the Department of Defense
Faced with ongoing cuts stemming from the sequestration quagmire, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently ordered mandatory furloughs for hundreds of thousands of civilian workers in the Department of Defense. At least 11 furlough days will face 650,000 of these workers in upcoming months, leading to a 20 percent pay cut over three months. These are the same workers who have voluntarily gone years without cost-of-living raises in order to prevent layoffs or furloughs, as many other public employees have done. All of this because federal lawmakers can’t put their ideological differences aside and put the country first.
In the words of Federal Workers Alliance union chief William R. Dougan, “[b]ehind every good soldier is a team of dedicated Defense civilian employees…[t]here is no good reason to send them home for 11 days of unpaid leave when they want to work. These people need to be on the job — not on the couch.” While Congress has passed a stopgap to ensure that more massive cuts are not made, the Defense Department and Chuck Hagel have decided to enforce furloughs rather than make other cuts in the military budget.
Confronted with the crisis of the sequester, most other federal agencies have made commensurate budget cuts without the drastic step of employee furloughs; there seems to be no valid reason why Hagel and the Defense Department leadership can’t make budget cuts elsewhere and protect the livelihoods of these crucial defense workers. Who among us could withstand a 20 percent pay cut, when so many Americans are already living paycheck to paycheck? Please sign the petition below to condemn Hagel’s dictatorial furloughs, and ask that he find a better way to trim his department’s budget.
Dear Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,
I am deeply troubled at your insistence on 11 furlough days for federal workers over a three month period. This policy will amount to a 20 percent salary cut for crucial Defense Department workers in this amount of time. While the disaster of the federal sequester is not the fault of your department’s workers, you have shifted nearly all of the burden of the sequester upon them. I consider this superlatively unfair, given the hard work they do for the country at relatively low wages already; these same workers have gone years without cost-of-living raises, voluntarily in order to prevent these types of furloughs.
I understand that your department must make budget cuts, but I ask that the onus of these cuts not fall unfairly upon those who have done nothing to deserve it. Please find other ways to trim your department’s budget without adversely affecting so many hard-working public employees.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: gregwest98 via Flickr