First furlough notices hit Customs and Border Protection

“The furlough will be on discontinuous (intermittent) days, beginning no earlier than April 21, 2013, and will continue through approximately September 30, 2013,” reads an excerpt of the notice, which is expected to reach some 24,000 workers, managers and supervisors at the agency.

“Full time employees will be furloughed no more than 14 workdays or 112 hours. If you are a part-time employee, your furlough time will be prorated, based on your work schedule,” it reads.

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The notices are among the first concrete workforce reduction steps taken by the federal government in response to the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that took effect last week. The Obama administration has warned that more than a million workers could be furloughed if Congress doesn’t agree on a measure to restore the funding.

Already, the sequester cuts are causing longer lines for passengers and commercial traffic at the nation’s ports of entry, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.

“There is no escaping the reality that sequestration is having serious effects on the traveling public and on vital commerce,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. 

The union represents roughly 150,000 federal workers across 31 agencies.

Kelley said NTEU has already begun formal bargaining with CBP over furlough notices.

Beyond impacts to trade, travel and public safety, “the proposed 14 days of furloughs would result in the drastic loss of nearly three weeks’ pay for dedicated frontline workers,” she said.