15,500 furloughs expected at Redstone Arsenal

Published: May. 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Redstone Arsenal confirmed around 15,500 furloughs will be sent out to government civilian workers later this week.

The furloughs, or unpaid days off, will impact the 15,500 civilian employees for at least 11 days.

Abner Merriweather is the President of the American Federation of Government Employees.  He received his furlough letter Tuesday afternoon.

"It is definitely going to have an impact on federal employees in every aspect of spending," he said.  "For example: college expenses for their sons and daughters, spending as far as groceries and every day bills that you have. That's what is going to be noticed among the work force."

Merriweather said the furloughs will have a domino effect on the community.

"If 15 thousand people are furloughed for 11 days,that equates to over $44 million dollars," he said.  "So that's $44 million dollars being taken out of Huntsville's economy.  So, surely it's going to have an impact at Redstone and also in the Huntsville area."

Those statistics also worry Mayor Tommy Battle.

"We are concerned, we are watching it very closely," he said.  "It affects the trickle down spending that's done. It affects just somebody being able to pay their bills.  It is a concern for the city of Huntsville."

Redstone Arsenal confirmed the commissary is also expected to be impacted. It is already closed on Mondays, but is expected to be closed for one more day due to furloughs.

Departments not being furloughed include NASA, the DOJ, and the ATF.

Earlier this year, economists warned that furloughs could have negative impact on the Huntsville and North Alabama economy.

According to the American Federation of Government Employees, the average pay for a government civilian on Redstone Arsenal is between $70,000 and $72,000.

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