Tobyhanna Army Depot: 22 Furlough Days

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TOBYHANNA -- The Tobyhanna Army Depot says unless the federal budget crisis is resolved, employees will not get paid for several days between April and September.

Businesses surrounding the depot will also be affected.

The depot in Tobyhanna is one of the largest employers in our area.

More than 5,000 people work there.  Many of the employees repair communication devices for the Army.

But a government sequester involving budget cuts is forcing all Depot employees to take a few days off work without getting paid.

"I think that's unfair," said Melissa Kane of Tobyhanna.

This sequester took effect on Friday.

More than 5,000 depot employees will be furloughed on certain days between April to September.

That means the workers will be forced to take off work for 22 non-consecutive days in that time and not get paid.

One business owner says many of his customers work at the Depot.

"If you work there, I'd be nervous right now. Look at how many people are out of work. If you get laid off from the Depot, what are you going to do?  Where are you going to go?" said John Lombardi, the owner of Lombardi's Brookside Inn.

Some employees decided to end their careers early.

150 former employees at the Tobyhanna Army Depot decided to retire early. In fact, on Friday of last week, depot officials say that those former employees decided to take advantage of early retirement incentives.

Some of those former employees headed right down the road to a local restaurant to celebrate their retirement.

Lombardi's Brookside Inn is a very popular spot for Depot employees.

The owner says he'll feel a hit and so will a nearby pizzeria.

"We get a nice little crowd, definitely for lunch.  You definitely know when the Depot is not open during the holidays, you can definitely tell. Our lunch crowd gets a little smaller," said Lombardi.

"Everyday we got a handful, sometimes ten or better.  Without them, the business will slow down a little bit," said Edgar Santana, a worker at Baby Bruno's Pizzaria

The depot is on a hiring freeze, it's receiving $309 million less in funding, restricting how much supplies are purchased and delaying upgrades on equipment.

Depot officials say they're not the only ones affected by the sequester.

If the budget cuts is not reversed, a total of 800,000 Department of Defense employees will be furloughed across the country.