Defense Industry Furloughs Workers as Asking Gov’t to Reopen

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A Lockheed Martin Corp. Fury unmanned aircraft system (UAS) hangs above the exhibition floor at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) unmanned systems conference in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13, 2013.

The defense industry, which gave 60 percent of its contributions to Republicans in the 2012 elections, is furloughing workers as the partial government shutdown continues.

“Shutting down the government has been a tragic mistake,” said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, the Arlington, Virginia-based trade group for defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp., which today announced it would furlough 3,000 workers.

The AIA said that its member companies could furlough tens of thousands of workers unless the government reopens. House Republicans have said they will continue to refuse to pass a spending bill without changes to President Barack Obama’s health-care law, which provides coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The Democratic-controlled Senate has passed legislation to reopen the government without conditions.

Lochkeed’s  president and chief executive officer, Marillyn A. Hewson, suggested in a memo to employees that they tell their lawmakers to reopen the government.

“If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, I urge you to contact your members of Congress on your personal time,” she told them.

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