Texarkana, Texas – Today, 750 employees who work at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas learned they will not have jobs after March 2, 2017, according to a press release issued by the National Federation of Federal Employees Local 2189.
According to the union the layoff information came from Defense Secretary James Mattis who authorized the layoffs in response to the Trump administration federal hiring freeze.
While hiring freeze guidance allows for exemptions for certain positions—and federal law provides for the exemption of depot employees from administrative freezes.
According to RRAD, approval was received for extended term/temp employees with ‘not to exceed’ dates in February. One employee was affected in February. RRAD is waiting for approval to extend those employees with ‘not to exceed’ dates in March through May. “It is not our intent or that of TACOM and AMC to lose any of our team members due to theses restrictions,” said COL Jason Carrico. “That would impact the Depot’s mission and the Army’s readiness.”
“This is a ridiculous turn of events,” stated Shane Connell, president of NFFE Local 2189 at Red River Army Depot. “These 750 workers are critical to the maintenance and readiness of armored vehicles and other equipment vital to the safety and mission success of our Soldiers and Marines,” Connell continued. “To fire these workers and place our military in jeopardy for political reasons is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable.”
The health of the Texarkana economy relies heavily on the Red River Depot workforce, pressing local officials and members of Congress to send a joint letter to Secretary Mattis, requesting that he abide by federal law that exempts depots from hiring freezes in order to maintain military readiness.
“Everyone knows this is a major mistake,” stated Connell. “Even one day of layoffs will hit this area hard and it will severely disrupt operations at the depots. Trump better figure out this one quick because these are his supporters down here, and they are relying on him to keep his promise not to cut defense priorities.”