(KMOV.com) -- Thousands of civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base will be forced to take unpaid time off if the White House and Congress cannot reach an agreement to avoid automatic cuts in federal spending.
Scott AFB, the fourth largest employer in the St. Louis area, has already told thousands of workers they could have to take a one-day furlough for 22 weeks. This furlough represents a 20 percent pay cut for more than five months, for a total of $28 million in lost income.
"I think we are in for some tough times budget-wise," said Col. David Almand.
Small businesses like Min Park's Scottsgate Cleaners are already facing tough economic times. Park said he has three employees, and he does not want to cut back on their hours.
Col. Almand said the base has already begun belt-tightening, such as cutting back on flights, not traveling to conferences and delaying computer upgrades.
"There are civilian government employees that would make more by retiring than enduring through even this one-day-a-week furlough, that'll make the decision to leave, so it's our most experienced and best people...we already expect that we will lose some of them," Col. Almand said.