Redstone unions try new push to undo furloughs - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Redstone unions try new push to undo furloughs

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Union leaders representing civilian employees at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal launched a new effort to turn up the intensity of a pressure campaign to convince Washington to cancel furloughs affecting the U.S. military.

As of this week, some 15,000 civilian employees at Redstone are being furloughed, required to take one unpaid day off a week for the next 11 weeks, essentially taking a 20% pay cut for the period.

"This is death by a thousand cuts," said J. David Cox, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees.

The AFGE, as well as the National Federation of Federal Employees and the 20 union Federal Workers Alliance, are urging their members as well as their families and neighbors to demand their representatives in Congress and the Obama Administration take steps to put an end to the furloughs.

"It's still not too late," said Abner Merriweather, president of AFGE local 1858. "We're hoping that their voices may be heard and that we'll send a strong message to congress and the administration."

The unions are soliciting online petitions, as well as emails and phone calls to get the point across.

"We've gotten at least 4000 notices," said Martisha Booker, President of NFFE Local 1332.  "We've notified about 350 congressmen overall across all 50 states." 

Union leaders acknowledged this 11th hour… well… 13th hour campaign faces long odds after months of fruitless talks in Washington to head off sequestration budget cuts.  Still, they said the beginning of the furloughs, as well as their impact on families and communities, may add extra urgency to their appeals.

"Members of Congress react to the pressure of their constituents," said Cox. "We believe that.  People calling, people reminding them that it is their responsibility."

 "We are asking everyone to call congressman [Mo] Brooks, Senators [Richard] Shelby and [Jeff] Sessions," said Merriweather.  "We're asking them to call every single day."  

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