WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Federal employee labor unions are trying to soften the blow for more than 1 million government workers who may be forced to take unpaid time off if mandatory budget cuts kick in this week.
Union leaders have been working furiously to persuade agency managers to make other cuts that won't affect employee paychecks. But if agencies do insist on furloughs, unions say they can bargain over when they take place and other terms that could help workers in financial trouble.
More than half of the nation's 2.1 million government workers may be required to take furloughs if agencies are forced to trim budgets.
The Defense Department expects to furlough 800,000 civilian workers for 22 days each. Other federal agencies are likely to furlough several hundred thousand more workers.
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