WATERVLIET, N.Y. — Dozens of union members and workers lined the front of the Watervliet Arsenal Thursday for a “furlough fight- back rally,” in protest of mandatory two-week furloughs, put in place by Congress, of over 600 arsenal workers.
The furloughs—unpaid, mandated time off — fall in line with the automatic federal budget cuts that took affect March 1st. Worker Charles Hannan has been employed by Watervliet Arsenal for 34 years. He has a special-needs daughter and growing medical bills. Hannan says he can't afford to further tighten his family's already tight budget, by being forced to take unpaid days off of work.
“It's, once again, the government taking their money issues out on the little person. Federal employees like me take the hit, while no one in Congress would be willing to give up 14 days of their pay. We have mortgages, taxes, medical bills. If I showed you my medical bills, you'd go nuts.”
The Watervliet Arsenal makes weapons parts for the Army. It's one of the largest single federal employers in the capital region. The furloughs are set to begin in the Summer.