Steep furloughs hit military workers this week

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - Monday will mean a day without pay for thousands of Americans who work in defense jobs --another effect of automatic federal budget cuts.

The furloughs starting tomorrow affect 680,000 workers. For the next 11 weeks, they will lose 20 percent of their pay.

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The furloughs will impa

Maureen Campell
Maureen Campell
CBS News

ct operations at every American military base around the world, except for some bases supporting combat.

"For (these workers) a 20 percent cut is a lot more money, means a lot more to them in terms of making those day-to-day payments," said Maureen Campell, who works on the staff of a Navy Admiral.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that to meet the budget goals of sequestration, he had to reduce the civilian payroll or further reduce the military itself.

"We've already cut into readiness," he said at a press conference. "You know that we are standing down 16 Air Force squadrons. We are not sailing a lot of ships. No new training in the Army."

Beginning July 8, 2013 and over the course of 11 weeks, 680,000 Americans in defense jobs will lose 20 percent of their pay.
CBS News

In theory, the furloughs apply across the board to civilian workers, but there are notable exemptions. For example, military commissaries will close an extra day a week, but not military day care centers. Most shipyard workers building ships for the Navy are exempt. So are the civilian workers at Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma, whose homes were destroyed by the F5 tornado in May.

But all those lost wages will harm local economies. Communities near the nation's largest military bases will lose tens of millions of dollars.

  • Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.