Furloughs have begun at Mountain Home Air Force base. Friday is the first day many civilian workers had to stay home after across-the-board budget cuts – known as the sequester – take effect.
Chief Master Sergeant Alex del Valle says the furloughs are already changing base operations. He says the civilian airmen work alongside the military airmen, and their support is essential.
Some offices are closed on Fridays now, since the military can’t pick up all the slack left by their civilian counterparts.
And del Valle says the workers are immediately feeling the financial burden with the loss of pay.
“It hurts, and it’s very obvious," he says. "If I was to take a 20 percent pay cut I would feel it immediately. [Civilian workers] are an integral part and very critical part of our team. With the mandates that are put out by Congress, we are putting them on that furlough as that last resort to meet the budgetary constraints.”
Del Valle says the base is doing what it can to provide financial planning services to the civilian workers, and low interest loans in some cases. About 400 civilians who work on the base are being forced to take 11 unpaid days off between now and September 30.