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Okla. unions join forces against sequestration | News

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Okla. unions join forces against sequestration
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Local unions joined forces pleading with lawmakers to stop sequestration.

“It makes me furious, this sort of political game that is being played,” Rachel Jackson said. “They’re holding the lives of Americans who’ve had little to do with the current crisis at stake.”

Jackson is a grad student at OU and her husband, Jim, is a jet engine mechanic of 21 years.

A 20 percent cut in pay means $500 less each month.

“The 20,000 workers here at Tinker who are going to be affected by the sequester, most of them have at least one dependent if not more,” Jackson said. “So the totally number of people affected by this decision is in the upwards of 60,000 people.”

A press conference was held outlining how the cuts will affect various agencies around the metro.

“By the agreement signed by AFGE council 214, employees are facing 22 furloughs days for the remainder of 2013,” Carl Dahms said, Vice Pres. of Local 916 AFGE.

Those days will start next month.

“Tinker employees will have to take two days in the first two pay periods,” Dahms said. “After that they will be allowed to select the days that they want to take.”

Thousands of FAA workers with the fourth largest employer in the city will follow suit.

Mike Keller, Vice President Local 171, is concerned about safety at the El Reno federal prison.

“These inmates include terrorists, rapists, murderers, lots of high profile inmates,” he said.

Hundreds of workers in that union will have to take 14 furlough days leaving some staff no protection.

“For example, if you’ve got a secretary that has never worked a housing unit where inmates live, she’s going to be in that unit by herself with 250 inmates,” he said. “She’s only going to have a set of keys on her and a radio.”

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