Dougan Pens Letter to Congress Urging Support for Cole-Kilmer Amendment to Exempt 180,000 Defense Employees from Furloughs


Contact: Cory Bythrow, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 216-4458

Washington, D.C. – With furloughs underway for over 650,000 Department of Defense (DoD) workers, serious questions have been raised about the potential for yet another round of temporary forced layoffs in fiscal year 2014. A major point of contention has developed over DoD”s initial decision to furlough 180,000 Defense Working Capital Fund (DWCF) employees – workers paid through reimbursements for the goods and services they provide. These workers are essentially budget-neutral; no savings occur when furloughing them.

Many argue that these workers” budget-neutral status should exclude them from furloughs, yet DoD leadership has thus-far held firm in their decision to maintain furloughs for DWCF employees in FY13. This has caused considerable backlash in Congress, culminating in Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) offering an amendment to the FY14 Department of Defense Appropriations Act to cancel any potential future DWCF furloughs outright in FY14.

William R. Dougan, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, a national union representing 110,000 federal workers government-wide, penned a letter to Congress urging support for the Cole-Kilmer amendment. The following are excerpts from the letter:

“This amendment would exempt employees funded through Defense Working Capital Funds from furloughs in fiscal year 2014 (FY14). DWCF employees are paid through reimbursements for the services they provide, so there are no direct savings in appropriated dollars to be rendered from furloughing these dedicated Defense workers. In fact, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has indicated that this amendment does not score.”

“Make no mistake: we believe Congress should take decisive action to eliminate all furloughs at DoD in FY14. Furloughs are simply bad policy and any savings derived from them are outweighed by the adverse effects they have on the Department and our national security.”

“[T]here should be absolutely no occasion when furloughing DWCF employees is considered acceptable. Doing so does not save the American taxpayers a single nickel. Furloughing these employees simply inflicts unnecessary pain on Defense workers and the communities in which they live.”

Read the Full Letter

# # #

Established in 1917, the National Federation of Federal Employees is the oldest union representing civil service federal employees. NFFE represents approximately 110,000 federal employees in nearly 40 separate departments and agencies government-wide. NFFE is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO. For more information, go to