NORFOLK-After weeks of bracing for sequester-related furloughs, 39,000 impacted Hampton Roads civilian Department of Defense employees are now learning it might not be as bad as originally feared.

The Associated Press reports that senior Pentagon leaders are reconsidering the number of unpaid days the workers will be forced to take this fiscal year. Initially, the plan was for them to take 22 days. Then, it was reduced to 14 days. Now, it reportedly could be as few as seven.

Word of furloughs sparked several demonstration outside military facilities in Hampton Roads last month, including at Naval Station Norfolk and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth. Workers said forcing them to take one day off per week was unfair.

Reaction to word that the furloughs may be lessened is positive. Quentin Jones, who works at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, said, 'That's good news.'

Cookie Harris is a member of the Metal Trades Council at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. 'I most definitely do hope it's true,' she said, adding that word of the number of furlough days possibly being reduced, 'most definitely has been a morale-booster.'

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