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Crane Employees’ Appeal Denied, Furloughs To Start July 12

Naval Surface Warfare Crane officials pose in front of a tank. I-69 runs next to Crane.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane employees are being forced to take 11 unpaid furlough days beginning July 12 because of sequestration.

Federal civilian employees had appealed to the Department of Defense in an effort to prevent the furloughs, but the appeal has been denied.

As a result, Crane employees will take the furlough days every Friday for 11 weeks, amounting to 20 percent pay reduction through September 30.

Of Crane’s approximately 5,000 employees, 4,200 of them will be forced to take furlough days. The furloughs amount to a 20 percent pay reduction through the end of September.

Naval Support Activity takes care of maintenance for the Navy’s Midwest region, including Crane.

U.S. Navy spokesman Ken Cronk says all Naval Support Activity services and responses will be delayed one day because of the furloughs. Cronk says he will not feel the impact of the furloughs as much as some of his younger employees.

“I’m fortunate; I’m an older guy, more established,” Cronk says. “While nobody, I think it’s safe to say nobody relishes taking a 20 percent cut in pay or 11 weeks, it will not be as difficult for me as it will for some of the younger and more junior civilians who have younger families and will be cutting it pretty close to the bone.”

Union members say they fear the furloughs will result in mission delays and future overtime.

In a press release from AFGE Local 1415, union officials said the furloughs would “decrease the employee wages, the amount of funds going into our local economies and the tax base for the surrounding counties.”

A Crane spokesperson says the employees are dedicated to their missions and will seek to finish them as quickly as possible, but they must abide by the federal directive. The spokesperson says employees have been volunteering to work on furlough days without pay, but that is not allowed under the Department of Defense guidelines.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated civilian contractors would be put on furlough. Only federal civilian employees are being required to take furlough days. The story also incorrectly identified Ken Cronk as the head of Naval Support Activity. He is a U.S. Navy spokesman.

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