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Forum News Service, Published March 13 2013

Pay cuts could affect 2,000-plus in ND, Minn.

GRAND FORKS – A proposed furlough of Defense Department employees could mean a 20 percent cut in pay for thousands of employees of Grand Forks Air Force Base and the North Dakota and Minnesota National Guards.

The cuts would fall on roughly 300 civilian employees at the base, a base spokesman said Wednesday.

In the North Dakota Guard, 680 full-time employees paid by the federal government would be affected; in the Minnesota Guard, it’s 1,169 employees, according to representatives for the Guards.

Officials from Minot Air Force Base did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday.

As part of the mandatory federal budget cuts known as the sequester, the Defense Department proposes to put civilian employees on a one-day-a-week unpaid furlough, cutting out two days from each pay period, starting April 21 through the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

“We’re like a lot of others, we’re waiting for guidance from the Department of Defense,” said Capt. Dan Murphy, spokesman for the North Dakota Guard. “The decision to furlough employees has not been made yet.”