FORT HOOD - Civilian employees working on Fort Hood said they were devastated by budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration, which released a federal plan to reduce the civilian workforce last week.
On Thursday, protesters -- including nurses, dental workers, and post exchange employees -- gathered outside the main gate to express their disapproval. The roughly thirty protesters were members of the American Federation of Government Employees Union.
While the White House said the plan was intended to make the government more efficient, the union said some of the proposed cuts could negatively impact the Fort Hood community.
"If you increase the military but decrease the people that take care of the military, then that's not going to work," AFGE Executive VP Local 1920 Shareef Valentine said. "We don't wear a lapel pin that says we support the troops. We actually get paid every day to support the troops. We feed our family by supporting the troops out here."
Valentine said civilian downsizing had already been occurring on Fort Hood already in recent years.
Kim Barrera, a civilian nurse, who works at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center said she was concerned about the proposed cuts and their impact on soldiers' lives.
"They're deployed all over the world," Barrera said. "We're here at home taking care of their families. We're here taking care of the soldiers when they come back. We're kind of the constant in the constant change they always have."
The union said many of the civilian employees were former military members themselves, and some are disabled veterans.
"Out of 700,000 federal employees, about 45 percent are disabled veterans or they're just veterans," AFGE Local 1920 President Samuel Boles said.
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