Reduced schedules planned for 2,000 SRS workers

Monday, March 4, 2013 5:28 PM
Last updated Tuesday, March 5, 2013 1:02 AM
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About 2,000 Savannah River Nuclear Solutions workers will be placed on reduced schedules April 1 over sequestration concerns, and others will be given “full furloughs.”

The announcement was made to employees Monday in a memo from Dwayne Wilson, the president and CEO of the largest contractor at Savannah River Site.

Workers whose schedules will be cut from 40 to 32 hours per week will be notified by March 15, Wilson said, and workers chosen for furloughs will be notified next week.

“Due to the uncertain and potential fluctuating amount of funding which may be available to SRNS, further furloughs may be necessary,” Wilson said. “We recognize the difficult financial implications of any furlough and we will make every effort to keep you informed.”

The specifics of the budget-cutting measures are still being worked out, with no specific time span determined for the furloughs, company officials said, adding that the reduced work schedules are designed to possibly lessen the impact and duration of furloughs.

The Fluor Corp.-led management contractor is the largest employer at Savannah River Site, a Department of Energy operation, and oversees facilities including Savannah River National Laboratory.

The federally imposed sequestration cuts came as no surprise.

In a Feb. 13 report by House Appropriations Committee Democrats, analysts said the impact at SRS would fall mainly on environmental management and nuclear waste cleanup programs and cause the furlough of more than 1,000 workers for about four months.

Potential consequences at SRS could include suspension of plutonium processing at H Canyon, further delays in the disposition of liquid waste in underground tanks and a halt to radioactive waste shipments from South Carolina to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the report said.

The issue revolves around a missed March 1 deadline to resolve a congressional budget stalemate.

The Office of Management and Budget now must sequester $85 billion in fiscal year 2013 spending as mandated by the Budget Control Act, which comes on top of $1.5 trillion in discretionary cuts already enacted, the House Appropriations Committee report said.

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GiantsAllDay
9585
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/04/13 - 06:35 pm
6
1
I worked there for 23 years.

I worked there for 23 years. Westinghouse, Washington Group and SRNS. SRNS is by far the worst. Current employees, take my advice: Do not believe ANYTHING SRNS management tells you. They will lie to you all day long and not lose a wink of sleep over it. To the remaining employees: Best of wishes to you. You're in my thoughts.

Riverman1
83834
Points
Riverman1 03/04/13 - 06:51 pm
6
0
Fort Too

Civil service workers at the Fort will be losing a DAY A WEEK starting in April. The CSRA is about to experience a significant economic downturn. I'm in favor of what the Republicans are doing, but I'm just saying...

Just My Opinion
5627
Points
Just My Opinion 03/04/13 - 06:54 pm
7
0
I know this is very easy for

I know this is very easy for me to say, and might be difficult for those affected to hear, but it's better to lose SOME of your hours that to lose all of them. Many people are completely out of a job, so to still have one is a blessing. I know it might be hard to think of it that way, but it is still a blessing. I think it these hard economic times, either everyone has been hit directly with something like this, or you know someone who has. I sincerely hope those affected here have prepared for it in some way. Good luck to all of us.

Herenow2say
107
Points
Herenow2say 03/04/13 - 07:44 pm
6
0
Meanwhile

Congressional pay is unaffected and food stamps are still available. Abuse of the disability system is unimpeded and Medicaid fraud is not reduced in the least. Despite reduced federal payouts, recipients of whatever federal funding is doled out still have to meet the same regulatory standards, regardless of whether they make any sense, using what little funds they do get for less and less meaningful work. I really wish "those who support what the GOP is doing" got the full bill and those at places like SRS who are doing something useful would not have to live with the worry of whether "some hours" will be "no hours" tomorrow.

Conservative Man
5564
Points
Conservative Man 03/04/13 - 08:04 pm
7
2
Welcome to MY world....

....I work in the private sector and because of the policies of this administration, I've been on short time for two years now....
To federal employees I say, "suck it up, no sniveling"...

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 03/04/13 - 08:15 pm
9
0
The alternative is to keep

The alternative is to keep accumulating massive debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. This generation is the most selfish in history.

abeecee
122
Points
abeecee 03/04/13 - 08:34 pm
4
0
Man up, Chronicle.

I've been waiting for weeks Chronicle to report on sequester's projected impact on CSRA economy. We are so Federal Gov't employment dependent here. SRS, Ft.Gordon, VA, Medicare to all hospitals...and more. A major news organization would have been reporting on this before now. (But thanks, Rob Pavey, for finally writing about this) issue.)

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 03/04/13 - 09:24 pm
4
1
President Osama Rules
Unpublished

President Osama has one set of rules for him and his Court, and a different set for us pee ons. Have not see a single welfare check that bounced or has he and the Queen taken a day off from vacationing all around the world. VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!!

GiantsAllDay
9585
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/04/13 - 09:46 pm
5
4
Herenow2say

Where in the world did you get the idea they are doing something useful? At least 90% of the budget goes to salaries. That's money transferred from the federal gov't right into paychecks. The don't produce ANYTHING! Wait a minute, that's not quite correct. The national lab (SRNL) actually makes money. It's called "work done for others". Private money going to the government. But that's the only dept out there that does that. Check all this out if you don't believe me. It's not quite welfare out there. When they're not at home using time from their generous time banks, they have to actually show up for work.

Riverman1
83834
Points
Riverman1 03/04/13 - 09:48 pm
3
0
The VA is off limits for

The VA is off limits for sequester.

robaroo
745
Points
robaroo 03/04/13 - 11:01 pm
8
0
Two and a Half Per Cent?

The sequester only cuts off about 2.5% off of Federal spending. These cuts sound like a lot more than that. What per cent of SRS's budget do these furloughs take care of?

This really sounds politically motivated to me - one party is grossly exaggerating the effects of the cuts to make the other major party look bad.

Spending cuts and tax increases are absolutely necessary to prevent the entire country from going into bankruptcy. Gaming the system only makes it harder for people to make the hard choices.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 03/04/13 - 11:55 pm
8
1
i am being furloughed

I won't suffer, I won't enjoy it but I won't die. I spend that much when I'm eating out. My barber and servers will feel the losses. I can cut back to nothing as long as Republicans don't cave in. I'm gonna let my hair grow and eat ramin noodles. I'm also cutting back and saving up for the next time it happens.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 03/05/13 - 07:13 am
7
0
Federal tax revenues will

Federal tax revenues will reach $2.7 trillion this year, the most in the history of our Nation or any country in the world. And yet, the president wants even higher taxes. How much money is enough for this administration?

SCEagle Eye
914
Points
SCEagle Eye 03/05/13 - 08:08 am
4
0
MOX impacts

Why did Senator Lindsey Graham (who is on the committee that funds DOE) and Congress and the last two presidents let the plutonium fuel (MOX) program run out of control? Massive cost overruns and mismanagement are coming home to roost and are now severely impacting essential clean-up programs at SRS and other sites. Who in DOE, NNSA and Shaw AREVA MOX Services will be held accountable? Is the government even capable of holding anyone accountable when these huge projects turn south????

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 03/05/13 - 08:19 am
4
1
Rest assured, this

Rest assured, this Administration will throw the working people under the bus to play this to their advantage. Areas such as the CSRA, highly supported by our taxes, will be out of luck as Obama and company haggle to get more from our pockets for his social engineering projects. IMO most folks are quietly resigned to the inevitable financial catastrophe over the horizon.

Little Lamb
45950
Points
Little Lamb 03/05/13 - 08:52 am
4
0
Work Hours Cut at SRS

The interesting thing about cutting work hours at SRS is that the general public will not notice anything different.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/05/13 - 09:24 am
3
1
LL...some of the general
Unpublished

LL...some of the general public will notice. Those that own small businesses that will see business go down due to the SRS workers having less disposable income.

recoveringaddict
176
Points
recoveringaddict 03/05/13 - 09:35 am
7
0
Will the people on food

Will the people on food stamps and public assistance see a drop in their benefits? Why is it that always the hard working people who get up day in and day out to go to a job are the ones that have to suffer and are left to deal with the cut backs?

Little Lamb
45950
Points
Little Lamb 03/05/13 - 09:45 am
1
0
Deficit

We've got to get a handle on deficit spending. Cutting back on government wages is one necessary way to get started. The dangerous thing is if Congress restores the wages retroactively like they did the last time there was a federal furlough. Nobody learns a lesson.

bdouglas
5008
Points
bdouglas 03/05/13 - 10:00 am
5
0
While I agree that a furlough

While I agree that a furlough is better than being laid off, it's not quite as black and white as some folks seem to think (ones who sound like they may have recently dealt with a layoff themselves). Furlough or not, the drastic reduction in pay will make paying bills difficult or impossible for many folks. If you aren't making enough to pay your bills, it doesn't really matter if you've still got a job after a few months. Not everyone has the luxury of a large enough salary to save for that much of a 'rainy day'.

Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 03/05/13 - 10:01 am
3
1
Don't let Obama fool you. The

Don't let Obama fool you. The federal government is hiring where they want to hire, posting over 400 jobs yesterday alone.

To answer the question of how much money is enough for this administration, the answer is always "more".

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/05/13 - 10:10 am
3
1
Does anyone know if you can
Unpublished

Does anyone know if you can collect unemployment while on furlough, or are you still considered employed?

Little Lamb
45950
Points
Little Lamb 03/05/13 - 10:24 am
1
2
Plenty of people

Many, many, many people were furloughed from 2009 until today. That includes a few thousand teachers in the CSRA. They can tell you that furlough is a term for reduced work hours without pay. You are still employed when furloughed. Hence, receiving unemployment compensation while still employed would be inappropriate.

Shortcomment
1163
Points
Shortcomment 03/05/13 - 10:24 am
4
0
Tell you what.

Let's apply the sequestration to Congress, by reducing the number of days they can dream up new ways to spend money we don't have.

Little Lamb
45950
Points
Little Lamb 03/05/13 - 10:26 am
1
2
Salary

Instead of furloughing workers, a more honest way to reduce wage expenses would be to give across-the-board pay cuts to government workers. That way society receives whatever benefits we are accustomed to from government, but at reduced cost.

bdouglas
5008
Points
bdouglas 03/05/13 - 12:23 pm
3
0
@Humble Angela

Yes, employees working in SC are eligible for unemployment when furloughed.

From http://www.ohr.sc.gov/OHR/employer/OHR-furloughmandatory-faqs.phtm :

Q: Can an employee receive unemployment compensation while on mandatory furlough?

A: An employee may be eligible for unemployment benefits with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce while on a mandatory furlough. Employees should contact the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce for further details or go to the agency's web site for information on unemployment insurance.

soitgoes
786
Points
soitgoes 03/05/13 - 01:31 pm
2
0
sad, but...

I hope there's another 2% decrease in spending increase next year, too. Rein in the spending. Stop foreign aid.

nasels
4
Points
nasels 03/05/13 - 03:14 pm
1
0
Re:Herenow2say

giantsallday-Where in the world did you get the idea they are doing something useful?.....When they're not at home using time from their generous time banks, they have to actually show up for work.

But you had no problem taking a paycheck or your timebank for how many years -- 23 I believe you said.

csrareader
1287
Points
csrareader 03/05/13 - 03:39 pm
1
0
Humble, That information

Humble,
That information addresses State Agency furloughs, not Federal Government and/or Federal Government contractor furloughs.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/05/13 - 04:23 pm
0
1
So it may not apply to SRNS
Unpublished

So it may not apply to SRNS employees on furlough.

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