Parris Island, MCAS Beaufort employees protest furloughs

emoody@beaufortgazette.comOctober 3, 2013 

— Furloughed U.S. Department of Defense employees from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort are rallying Thursday outside Beaufort City Hall to rouse support.

"I spent eight years in the Marine Corps, and they tell you fight for what you believe in," said Parris Island electrician Jonathan Fritz. "This is something I believe in."

Fritz is one of more than 1,500 Beaufort-area employees furloughed indefinitely Tuesday as part of the government shutdown. About 20 protested Tuesday, and more than a dozen protested Thursday.

Parris Island furloughed 291 and the air station 1,200, according to spokesmen. An additional 50 percent of Naval Hospital Beaufort's civilian workforce is furloughed, according to American Federation of Government Employees union president Sue Partridge.

The employees are still recovering from six days of furlough from July to September, she said, and many work paycheck-to-paycheck for as little as $8 an hour.

"I'm pretty close to losing everything I've got," Partridge said.

She heard the furloughs could continue to Oct. 18 or longer. Union members are urging residents call their representatives.

"They're not feeling the affect," she said. "We're feeling the affect."

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