After a year of uncertainty for workers at Cherry Point’s Fleet Readiness Center East, more may be in store.
Some employees may be given incentives for early retirements or early-outs next year.
“Our headquarters command is considering this option,” said David F. Marriott, a public affairs specialist at FRC East.
It isn’t clear how many jobs could be affected if that option is selected. About one out of four FRC East employees is eligible for retirement in the next five years. The average age for workers is 47.
Marriott stressed that no decision has been made.
“Our headquarters command has not made the decision to offer early retirements,” he said.
Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, spokesman at the Pentagon, said he had not heard of any plans for early retirements in the case of FRC East.
“I know it’s one of the options that the Department of Defense uses to not have to do reductions in force,” Urban said.
Earlier this year, nearly all of the 3,294 civilian workers at FRC East endured unpaid furloughs due to sequestration.
The original plan was for workers to take one day off each week for 22 weeks, but that was eventually cut to 11 weeks and then further cut to six.
Urban said that the Department of Defense does not have plans for furloughs in 2014 at this point.
“Can I guarantee that at any time in the future that we will not use them? I cannot, but I will say that we do not have a plan for widespread use of them for fiscal year 2014,” he said.
Urban said that there is the possibility that some commands could use furloughs at the local level.
“I don’t honestly know what authority local commands have at the local level to enact them,” he said.
Urban said he was unaware of any progress in congressional budget talks to supersede the effects of sequestration.
The FRC East aircraft repair and maintenance facility is in its 70th year of operation at Cherry Point. It has an annual payroll of about $275 million and is the state’s largest civilian employer east of Interstate 95.