Meat inspectors who will be furloughed under the automatic spending cuts that went into effect last Friday -- known as sequestration -- will continue to work for at least "several" more months.
That's according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who at a House Agriculture Committee hearing Tuesday said that notices are being sent out to unions this week notifying them that furloughs are possible. Worker notification is a required step before any such cost-cutting measures go into effect.
That means meatpacking plants will have a few months before facing the threat of a temporary closure. Vilsack said such facilities cannot operate unless an inspector from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is present, according to Bloomberg.
"We will do everything we can to minimize the disruption, he said. "We are looking at a several-month period before furloughs can be implemented.