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Federal Workers Fight Furloughs
Federal Workers Fight Furloughs
Members at the local American Federation of Government Employees rallied Wednesday against mandatory furloughs for federal workers, required after the sequester.
"For me it means $500 a pay day out of my paycheck," Tom Crume a worker at Tinker Air Force Base said. "That's what it means."
"For us, it amounts to half our rent," Rachel Jackson said. Her husband has worked at Tinker for 21 years.
Department of Defense workers at Tinker AFB are just one group that announced an agreement for how furloughs will work. Workers will be forced to take 22 days off with no pay during the last half of the fiscal year.
"The DOD decided to furlough the maximum number of employees for the maximum period of time for the remainder of the year without ever considering how service contract cost may be reduced," Carl Dahms, one of the union's vice presidents, said.
The AFGE also represents FAA workers at Will Rodgers World Airport. They will each face 88 hours of furloughs. The Bureau of Prisons will cut 14 working days for employees at the El Reno Federal Penitentiary and Oklahoma City Transfer Center.
"These prisons, if you're not familiar with how prisons work, they can be violent and they can be dangerous at times, not all the time, but there are those days when it's not a safe place to be," union representative Mike Keller said.
Keller is worried about the affect the furloughs will have on safety at the prisons. He says there will be times the prison is so short staffed, clerical workers will have to fill in for corrections officers.
Others are worried not only about how the cuts will hit their budgets, but their overall effect on the economy.
"The community's going to feel it a bunch- the gas stations, the little moms and pops stores, all the restaurants- its going to be a big deal," Rick Stewart a union vice president said.
"All the Congressman need to see this, go back to Washington and do their job," Bobby Hutchison, a corrections officer said.
The unions are urging their members and others to contact their Congressmen to ask for repeal of the sequester.
Posted: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 10:46 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado watch issued for western, central Oklahoma
May 18, 2013 22:57 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A tornado watch is in effect for western and central Oklahoma.
The weather system brought severe thunderstorms to the Altus and Clinton areas, as well as Harper County late Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of rotation as evening approached but the tornado watch lasts until 11 p.m. Saturday.
The dangerous weather is forecast to continue into Sunday night as the system progresses to the east.
The tornado watch area Saturday stretched from eastern edge of the Panhandle to include the Oklahoma City area.
Forecasters warn that the system could also bring large hail.
The National Weather Service in Norman reports tennis ball-size hail along U.S. 62 near the border of Harmon and Jackson counties in the state's far southwest.
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