Workload At Rock Island Arsenal An Impact Of Sequester
The sequester will impact the Rock Island Arsenal if it takes effect, but the Arsenal has another issue hanging over it.
Whether the Army will give it enough work as the U.S. leaves Afghanistan.
If the army chooses to send work elsewhere the cuts to the Arsenal could be even more dramatic than the sequester itself.
The Army says the sequester would force it to cut 197 million dollars from the Rock Island Arsenal.
Civilian workers would also be furloughed, losing twenty percent of their pay over the next six months.
The union president says that's bad, he says the Army could make those cuts even deeper.
If new projects stop coming to Rock Island, its workforce will have nothing to do.
"You tighten up the purse strings, you don't fund us, you impact our ability to sustain a workforce to do a workload," says Arsenal Union President Craig Flenker.
He says the amount of work assigned to the Arsenal directly affects its health. 400 million dollars in work keeps it running 24/7. 200 million dollars keeps it open. Less than that, and the arsenal is in trouble.
"If the Army doesn't see fit to workload us we will pretty much die on the vine if you will," says Flenker.
Tie that to the sequester, the military needs to eliminate 500 billion dollars in spending over the next ten years. With the draw down in Afghanistan, it may not need its manufacturing arsenals to work as much. The Secretary of the Army will make the ultimate decision about where the work goes .
"We don't have to go through a B.R.A.C., they don't have to pass legislation, all they have to do is not workload us and they accomplish the same thing," says Flenker.
The Arsenal can work with the private sector to keep itself busy during peacetime. Flenker says that's good up to a point. He says the Arsenal needs to complete government work to remind the Army of its strategic importance during future budget cuts.
"The money they have not given us or allocated to us, until that's given to us or allocated, that's money where they can say well, we're not going to do that this year."
It's still too soon to know what will happen to Rock Island with sequestration a few days away. However, Flenker says that, mixed with debt ceiling and government budget debates all in March leaves him worried.
"We're not saying you got to workload us at 400 million to keep us busy 24/7, we're just saying the Army has at its disposal the potential to keep us warm, to keep a sharp edge on our knives."
Giving the Arsenal enough work to continue benefiting the entire Quad Cities.
Flenker says the Defense Logistics Agency will be visiting the Arsenal this week.
Perhaps considering the Arsenal for a federal defense contract.