FORT HOOD — Civilian employees of Fort Hood stood outside the main entrance to post Thursday to raise awareness that sequestration is not over.
About 20 members of the local 1920 chapter and the Temple-based 2109 chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees held signs and chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, sequestration’s got to go.”
If sequestration remains in effect, it will continue to cut the Defense Department’s budget by $54 billion in 2014 and $500 billion over 10 years.
“We already have a second furlough looming in the future and that’s what we’re trying to stop,” said Samuel Boles, executive vice president of the Fort Hood chapter. “It will be 2022 before the end of (sequestration). Each of those years federal employees are subject to be furloughed.”
This year nearly 6,000 Fort Hood employees were furloughed for six days after it was cut from the original plan of 11 days.
“If you allow Congress to do these types of things, they will feel free to do even more in the future,” Boles said. “Every cut they come up with to balance the budget affects employees.”
The national headquarters for the union is urging Congress to reimburse employees for those days wages, he said. This would help many employees who struggled to pay bills, because of furloughs.
“Working people should be able to afford to take care of their children,” said Adrienne Rias, a nurse with the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple. As a member of the Temple chapter of the union, she said she wanted to show her support after witnessing furloughed employees who struggled to get their children ready for a new school year.
“This hurts our local economy,” Rias said.