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The nation's only maker of large-barrel battlefield guns may be cutting a fifth of its work force.

Officials with the largest workers union at Watervliet Arsenal said he has spoken with Col. John Rickman, commander of the arsenal, about an Army proposal to cut 200 jobs, the Troy Record reported Sunday.

"That's true. We have had some preliminary conversations with the arsenal commander, but nothing is official yet," said Richard Brown, president of the 200 members of Local 2109, National Federation of Federal Employees.

The arsenal has 1,071 workers, down from 3,500 a decade ago and more than 10,000 during its production peaks in World War II. It is unclear whether the cut of 200 jobs would be in addition to -- or part of -- the 49 jobs to be eliminated next fall under a previously announced three-year plan.

"If this goes through, this will be devastating to the arsenal," Brown said.

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