Defense Rebuffs Unions, Elected Officials, in Maintaining Working Capital Fund Furloughs


Late last month, NFFE and other unions joined a bipartisan group of 31 members of Congress in requesting that Defense cancel furloughs for nearly 180,000 Working Capital Fund (WCF) employees. This week, Defense Comptroller Robert Hale issued his response, defending the decision to furlough WCF employees and reaffirming the Department’s commitment to following through with it.

Working Capital Fund employees, unlike most other Defense workers, are not funded through annual appropriations by Congress. Rather they are funded by payments received for work rendered, such as repairing war fighting vehicles and manufacturing munitions. Since their work is revenue-neutral, there will be no cost-savings by removing these workers from the job for 11 furlough days. As a matter of fact, these furloughs may cost more as managers are forced to pay overtime in order to deliver projects on schedule. Despite this reality, the DoD has held firm.

“We are very disappointed with the DoD’s decision to furlough working capital fund employees,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “It is clear as day that these workers should be exempted. There are no savings here – they already pay their own bills. Defense needs to stop the unnecessary pain for these workers and call for an end to the furloughs.”

The DoD’s decision to defend their WCF position is controversial because the Department has already exempted several employee groups from furloughs due to their revenue-neutral status. It is grossly unfair to treat one group of cost-neutral employees different than another, and NFFE will not stand for it.

“We are going to keep fighting this until DoD does the right thing for these proud and dedicated Defense workers,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “Furloughing Working Capital Fund employees doesn’t save a nickel, so it shouldn’t be done. It’s really not that complicated to understand.”