June 18, 2018
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Furloughs for Department of Defense civilian employees begin July 8

Jim Cleveland | U.S. Navy
Jim Cleveland | U.S. Navy
Shipyard workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard successfully undock the Los Angeles-class submarine USS San Juan one day early from a routine engineered overhaul in February. Department of Defense employees at the shipyard will not be affected by federal furlough days.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

BATH, Maine — Nearly 2,100 civilian Department of Defense workers in Maine will begin furloughs on July 8, losing one day of pay a week for 11 weeks as a result of congressionally mandated across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.

In Bath, 200 civilian employees at Bath Iron Works will be affected, according to spokeswoman Kristin Mason. They work in the Supervisor of Shipbuilding office, which manages the design and construction of the destroyers built at the shipyard.

Overall, nearly 2,100 civilian workers in Maine will be subject to the furloughs, according to Willy Ritch, spokesman for Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s First Congressional District. In addition to employees of the Supervisor of Shipbuilding office, that figure includes about 600 at the Defense Department’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service office in Limestone, 533 civilian technicians at the Maine Army and Air National Guard, and 621 civilian employees of the U.S. Army in Maine.

In May, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Department of Defense would furlough most of its 800,000 civilian employees for 11 days over the course of the summer.

“I have made this decision very reluctantly, because I know that the furloughs will disrupt lives and impact DoD operations,” Hagel said in a statement. “I recognize the significant hardship this places on you and your families.”

However, some 4,700 federal employees at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery will not be subject to the furloughs because their positions have been deemed “critical.”

Nearly $7 million in income will be lost by furloughed employees, according to Ritch.

In Bath, the furloughs will create hardships not only for the employees, but for the Navy as it oversees the ships being built at BIW, Mason said Monday in a statement.

“SUPSHIP Bath oversees the design and construction of five Navy ship classes, including the Zumwalt and Arleigh Burke ship classes being built at BIW,” she said. “We are the Navy’s waterfront ears and eyes, working closely with our shipbuilder partners to resolve technical and contractual issues that arise during construction. Furloughs will reduce the effectiveness of our mission and will create significant financial hardship for the men and women of SUPSHIP Bath — 40 percent of whom are veterans.”

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