Union to politicians: Lift the pay freeze!

A major federal employee union has renewed its demand that members and other feds get the pay raise they deserve.

The American Federation of Government Employees issued a press release Sept. 10 pressing lawmakers and the White House—which recently announced the cancellation of a modest pay raise—to get on with reversing course, and providing the boost.

“Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by over $200 billion since 2011, and they are earning nearly 5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade,” the release notes. “Federal employees are encouraged that the administration’s proposed pay freeze was immediately met with opposition from many in Congress. Our calls and visits to explain the real situation across the country have paid off.”

Specifically, the document says, almost 200 members of Congress “have joined together to denounce President Trump’s decision to freeze pay for federal employees next year.” Letters and other missives sent to the White House or to leaders on Capitol Hill are pushing for at least the 1.9 percent rise that was promised and approved in a fiscal 2019 appropriations bill that the Senate passed.

“President Trump’s claim that the federal government cannot afford to provide the workforce with a modest pay adjustment next year after signing a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest individuals and corporations is ridiculous on its face and insulting to every employee who has taken an oath to serve this country,” J. David Cox, the president of AFGE, said in the release.

Reader comments

Thu, Sep 13, 2018 Hinterlands

Watching the Arkie 'Pubs in Congress gives most of us a very sick feeling, as we see how the "elite" have been treated, and then watch the treatment of commoners, with respect to finances, etc. Using a government position to retaliate against perceived enemies, by the way the tax "cut" was designed is just one example of the pure sliminess of our illustrious "leaders". History will show that, beginning with the election of Trump, and the rest of his minions, we began turning our collective backs on all that those that went before us accomplished, and began in earnest to damage the lives of anyone who disagrees with them. Hopefully, most Feds are paying attention, though some who are reasonably intelligent think the Orange-Haired, self-proclaimed "god" is the best we have ever had. Such a lack of thinking will surely doom us, if it continues and grows even further.

Thu, Sep 13, 2018

I have over 30 years in federal service with the same organization. Because of poor planning by self-serving inept management I am doing 2.5 FTE's worth of work, and my background and personality is that you do as much as possible to help the mission of the organization and the folks (tax payers) we serve. Unfortunately the minion managers do not have any idea about what stress and the potential health effects it has on the rank and file workers. Management minions go out of their way to write each other up for bonuses and then turn around out right lie they can not do anything for the productive employees. When it comes to these minimal non-sense salary adjustments we can thank the entire squad of inept leaders because they have no grasp of reality. It is time that they reduce the number of managers and empower the employees to do their jobs and recognize them through salary adjustments. Unfortunately the anti-male gender bias and age bias is surely ingrained in the management minions way of conducting business as usual. My suggestion is that when one is ready for retirement, exercise that option because having dire consequences of stress related health issues is not an option.

Wed, Sep 12, 2018

And now comes the payback: I am a federal worker and Trump’s latest move is to freeze federal wages and deny any changes to locality pay to retaliate because his union-busting EOs got thrown out of court. Federal workers are the middle class, tax payers ourselves, and we serve our fellow citizens in the front lines of our society. The vast majority of us are hard working, well-trained, highly educated, and truly dedicated. Trump makes us sound like we’re dead wood. His goal, as so eloquently stated by his buddy, Bannon, has always been to “deconstruct the administrative state.” This is a means toward that end.

In the Central CA county where I live we get the "rest of the US" locality pay while trying to survive in an area where the mean cost of a 2-bedroom house is closing in on $700,000. After almost a decade of concerted effort on our part, in the Fall of 2016 we finally got the Federal Salary Council to agree to give us the same locality pay as of all the counties surrounding us. But last year it didn’t happen because Trump didn’t appoint anyone to be in charge of OPM, and this year he’s arbitrarily decided we apparently don’t deserve it anyway - for no valid reason.

He mentions in passing there’s no connection to “recruitment and retention” as far as locality pay and COLA. I can tell you first-hand (and the data supports me) that’s false. I’ve been in my current position for five years and I’m an old-timer at this point. Good people come and go because they simply can’t afford to stay. We’ve had staff in the 50s living with their parents because they can’t afford the rents here; let alone to ever buy a home. When someone leaves, they don’t get replaced for months, years, or never. We are chronically understaffed and undermined as a result.

So, there’s no IRS office in this county, and the VA and the SSA are unable to meet the needs of their customers. People then complain more because of the “inefficiency" of these organizations, and the apparent “indifference" of the staff. I am one of those staff. When you’re job is constantly threatened by these “performance-based” measures and you can’t keep up, you move on or burn out. Either scenario doesn’t serve anyone.

Meanwhile Trump funded a huge tax-break for his contributors and corporations. This was supposed to "trickle down" to us in the working class. However, it seems the money saved by the entities is being used to further lobby for the privatization of public services, and to reinvest in themselves via the stock market. It certainly isn’t benefiting any federal workers, as our “boss” clearly isn’t sharing the wealth.

What we now have is a front row seat ticket to the death of the middle class. MAGA? I think not.

Wed, Sep 12, 2018

Republicans and right wing media have been demonizing federal employees for years. Trump is merely exploiting this--- again!--- to paint Feds as a group unfairly getting better treatment than other Americans. Of course, this isn't true, but Trumpists are working hard to make a 1.9% pay raise look like a socialist revolution. (Compare with the tax break the 0.1% just received.)

Wed, Sep 12, 2018

I put 30 years in with the Government. I have had pay freezes, shutdowns, etc. and still did 110%. Our insurance and cost of living keeps going up, but our income in the long run is actually going down because of it, after cost of living increase last year with the above going up, I was actually making less then the year before. I don't earn $100K/year, it's only $16K/year. Let's see them live on that!!!

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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