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Some civilian employees at Naval Air Station North Island facing a string of unpaid furlough days have decided to use their newfound Fridays off to picket outside the base in protest of the budget cuts that are reducing their pay by 20 percent.

About a dozen members of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers union, led by union president Irone Campbell, stood outside the base this morning holding signs suggesting “Furlough Washington!” and declaring that members of Congress should be affected by pay cuts enacted through federal budget cuts. Organizers said they were expecting more workers to arrive this afternoon.

“This affects the whole local economy, including other businesses we’re not going to be able to visit because of our reduced income,” union recording secretary Laura Nolan tells the Reader.

Nolan said that most of the 6,000 civilian employees at North Island were affected by the furlough, with the exception of those working on planes owned by foreign governments, as other nations that pay for the work are not affected by similar budget constraints.

Workers were originally scheduled to miss 22 days of work this year, but that number was halved to 11. Today (July 26) is the third of those furlough days. The union has planned protests for each Friday over the next three weeks, and hasn’t ruled out continuing them through the remainder of the mandated leave.

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