Services, Defense agencies have enough flexibility to avoid disruptive furloughsWASHINGTON, April 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The American Federation of Government Employees is calling on the Department of Defense to do the right thing for its employees and the country by cancelling the planned furlough of civilian workers. "We are encouraged to hear that Pentagon leaders may be rethinking their foolish and reckless policy to furlough nearly every civilian employee for 14 days," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "Many of the services and Defense agencies say they can reduce or eliminate the number of furlough days for their workers, and they should be allowed to exercise this flexibility," Cox said. "Forcing all employees off the job without pay for the same number of days out of some misguided notion of fairness is damaging to employees and undermines mission." Defense initially proposed furloughing more than 700,000 civilian employees for 22 days due to budget cuts required under sequestration. In March, it announced that it would reduce the number of days employees would be forced off the job without pay to 14 days. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the Pentagon is considering further cutting furloughs to 7 days. AFGE has already demonstrated to the department that furloughing any employee for any length of time is unnecessary and would disrupt the military mission that civilian employees help carry out each and every day. "This game that DoD is playing with the lives and livelihood of civilian employees is a travesty," AFGE Defense Conference Chairman Don Hale said. "The morale of our workforce has never been lower. Morale is lower than it was during the A-76 outsourcing competitions and when DoD tried to replace existing pay and performance management policies with the National Security Personnel System. "Employees feel as though they have no control over their future. Hell, they can't even plan their work schedules for the next few months because of the unknown that DoD has created," Hale said. "DoD has continuously said that they want to minimize the adverse impact that furloughs have on civilian employees, but what they are doing is having the opposite effect."