JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — About 10,000 civilian employees at JBLM will be furloughed one day a week, most every Friday, and see their pay fall by about 20 percent because of the reduced workweek brought on by federal sequestration budget cuts, the Army announced Monday.
JBLM Commander Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr. said the first furlough notification letters were distributed May 30 to JBLM employees. The first “furlough Friday” will be July 12 and continue through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
The commissary will remain open Fridays, but will be closed Mondays, typically the slowest day for sales. Yakima Training Center employees will be furloughed Mondays as well — the day with the least training — beginning July 8.
Hodges said that with 48,000 service members on JBLM and 16,000 civilian employees and contractors, the base is the seventh largest city in Washington state.
“Without our civilians, we could not run or maintain the 7th largest city in Washington,” Hodges said at a news conference. “This furlough is going to have a significant impact on JBLM and the local communities.”
He said it was decided to make most of the furloughs occur on Fridays so that the employees would be able to look for part-time jobs to supplement their income.
“Bottom line: This is going to place a significant financial burden on them and their families,” he said.
He noted that businesses in the area surrounding the sprawling base near Tacoma would suffer, also, because those furloughed employees and their families will have less money to spend on goods and services.