LOMPOC VALLEY - Hundreds of men and women at the Federal Prison Complex in the Lompoc Valley are staring at furlough days starting in April if sequestration happens.
That's the word from the National President of the Federal Prison Employee union.
After agreeing to a wage freeze two years ago, and seeing a tax withholding increase in their paychecks at the start of the year, federal prison employees in the Lompoc Prison Complex have been told to prepare for even more sacrifice.
"They're punishing working people, that is unacceptable", says Union National President Dale Deshotel.
Deshotel says the furloughs equate to about 112 hours per prison employee, or as much as $5,000 in lost wages before the end of the current fiscal year later this year.
Deshotel says it will create unsafe conditions in already understaffed federal prisons.
"We have 50 percent overcrowding in these prisons already", Deshotel says, "and we probably have 50 percent less officers in these units, in these cell blocks at one particular time."
Sequestration could also impact the Lompoc Valley housing market just as its starting to rebound in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.
"Anything that comes up that's going to change the little bit of progress we've made as far as values and housing, and boosting the economy is frustrating all across the board", says Bobbie Ranney, President of the Lompoc Valley Association of Realtors.
The Air Force already has a hiring freeze and civilian employees of defense contractors at Vandenberg Air Force Base have also been notified of possible cutbacks if sequestration happens.
A spokesperson for Bureau of Prison says it maintains safe staffing levels at all prisons all of the time.
Wednesday, June 5 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-06-05 21:40:27 GMT
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