Hit by inflation, feds say higher pay bump needed

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

Inflation—at least for now—is not backing down. Some concerned federal employee unions say the next pay boost needs to go higher than even the current fed-friendly White House's proposal.

The White House is expected to propose a 4.6% pay increase for feds for next year—but many feds, their unions and other advocates are increasingly concerned that even this record boost is not going to cut it.

Inflation continues to run at a rate not seen in several decades. Over this past year, for consumer goods it ran at 7.5% or more. And, in the most recent analysis, a different measure—wholesale prices—were up by 9.7% over 2021.

Although the Federal Reserve is set to take significant action against inflationary pressures in the coming months, it is unknown by how much and how soon these moves might take effect—and concerns among the federal workforce remain.

Jacque Simon, the public policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, this week spoke for the union in calling for a greater pay increase--noting that the most recent fed pay increase was inadequate versus the much higher inflation rate.

“It is clear that federal salaries are in need of adjustment,” Simon said. “Not only are federal employees paid less than their counterparts in the private sector and state and local government, but their wages and salaries also do not begin to keep up with the cost of living.” 

AFGE is pushing for a pay bump of 5.1%, as proposed in the pending Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR Act) being championed by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

“In fact, even 5.1% would not cover the accelerating cost of living we’re currently experiencing,” AFGE added in its recent release, which totted up years of inflation in excess of the pay increases (and sometimes pay freezes) experienced by feds.

Other major fed unions, as seen in words and deeds from the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), among others, have endorsed the FAIR Act’s 5.1% boost.

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