With the across-the-board cuts looming, public sector union leaders are seeking ways to ameliorate the pain to their members. Their proposal? Let the employees do triage among themselves, according to the Washington Post:

Union leaders cannot stop the furloughs or determine who in each agency must take them. They say their best option is to soften the pain of unpaid days, which could slash federal pay by up to 20 percent this fiscal year. They are demanding that employees be able to choose when to take days off and volunteer for more to help financially strapped colleagues. They want guarantees that no one will be penalized when work does not get done and assurances that managers cannot choose favorites to spare.

“Many of you will be missing eight, 10, 20 days of work,” Alex Bastani, president of Local 12 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), told a standing-room-only crowd of 400 Labor Department employees Thursday at a lunchtime town hall on sequestration.

As Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, pointed out: “We’ve never been through a sequester before. There aren’t any rules.”