Hawaii federal employees protest furloughs

Rally was one of many across the country Wednesday

 UPDATED 11:46 PM HST Mar 20, 2013
HONOLULU -

Federal employees rallied in downtown Honolulu Wednesday to protest across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration.

"Sequestration is going to cost the taxpayers more money than what they think they're going to save," said Don Bongo, president of the Hawaii Federal Employees Metal Trades Council.

Many of the protesters work at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, where about 4,500 workers would face 22 furlough days from April through September.

"My whole life is going to change," said Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard worker Piilani Migel. "I have to watch where I spend my money, what I spend on. You know, I have contemplated on finding a part-time job, finding a job elsewhere."

But not everyone at Pearl Harbor may be looking. KITV4 News has learned that an "exceptions list" is in the works that would exclude about 450 employees.

"When we first got the list, it was about 80-percent management," said Jamie Hironaka, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 121 president. "So we felt that was unfair and we went to our congressional (representatives) about it and so far, (The) Department of Navy has said there are no exclusions but, I believe that they're still trying."

Bongo added, "All we want Congress to do is get their act together. They need to repeal or stop sequestration, stop the furloughs and especially stop picking on the working families of America. That's all we ask."

The protest was one of more than a hundred similar rallies outside federal and lawmaker offices across the country Wednesday to battle sequestration.

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