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Sequester Cuts Could Furlough 10,000 Workers at Ft. Lewis-McChord AFB in July

Furloughs pending for thousands at Ft. Lewis-McChord AFB
(Photo by Robert W. Valenca/USAF/Getty Images)

Due to sequester budget cuts, nearly 15 percent of the civilians who help run the huge military base will be facing mandatory furloughs.

One of the largest military bases in the West, the Fort Lewis Army Base and McChord Air Force Base is facing significant personnel cuts next month.

JBLM officials say as many as 10,000 of the non-military employees who help with operations will be taking Fridays off without pay. The employees who work on the base’s medical facilities, restaurants and the water and electricity utilities will be looking at a 20 percent pay cut.

Colonel H. Charles Hodges, commander at JBLM, says firefighters at the six fire stations in the area will hopefully not be subject to the cuts. So far, the only non-military workers who have been told they won’t be furloughed are those who work in the bases’ neo-natal and behavioral health units.

The director of the firefighting units at JBLM said if firefighters are included, two of the six fire stations will have to be shut down, meaning longer response times for emergencies.

A decision on which workers will be furloughed is expected by the end of June.  The cutbacks are expected to have a noticeable effect on the Seattle-Tacoma economy,

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