More than half of the Minnesota National Guard's full-time force will be forced to take to take a day off each week through the end of September, creating a 20 percent pay cut for 1,156 members.
Federal budget reductions are driving the furloughs, which began this week. They affect Minnesota National Guard technicians who perform everything from vehicle maintenance to human resources support.
Lt. Col. Jon Lovald says most of those days off come on Mondays, which affects operations.
"Yesterday, certain things were just not getting accomplished and they had to be pushed to today," Lovald said Tuesday. "It will certainly have an impact on our readiness, but we have to focus on the things that still have to get done and then work through everything else."
Active guard reserve members are not affected because their salaries come from a different pot of federal money, Lovald said. Technicians and active members work side by side, though, and that inequity can harm morale within the guard, Lovald added.
"They're in the exact same uniform. You can't tell the difference between a technician and an active guard reserve member by looking at us. So we have to work through that as well," he said. "When some people are still here at work on a Monday and the others aren't, that can certainly create some animosity within an organization."