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Federal-Postal Coalition: No Federal Workforce Pay Cuts for ‘Fiscal Cliff’

by Ian Smith |

The Federal-Postal Coalition sent a letter to members of Congress today requesting that the federal workforce be excluded from any potential cuts that might be levied on federal employees as part of negotiations set to take place to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

The letter said that budget savings extracted from cuts to the workforce since 2011 have already totaled approximately $50,000 per employee when measured against a ten year budget window.

The letter also states that based on the Employment Cost Index, federal pay should be increasing by 1.7% next year instead of the proposed 0.5% increase. The 1.7% figure that the coalition says federal employees are due is a relatively modest one in the debate over federal pay since the Federal Salary Council has argued that federal employees are underpaid by about 35%. However, others argue that the federal workforce is, in fact, overpaid relative to the private sector. But then you also have the Government Accountability Office who took a more middle ground position on the issue, basically saying that all of the studies are wrong since it concluded that no one study can be looked at in isolation in trying to determine the answer on the issue of federal pay.

The full text of the Federal-Postal Coalition letter is included below.

November 19, 2012

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the nearly five million federal and postal workers and annuitants represented by the national member organizations of the Federal-Postal Coalition, we respectfully urge you to oppose efforts to extract even more budget savings directly from federal workers and retirees in conjunction with negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” More specifically, we urge you to contact congressional leaders involved in negotiations, as well as the President, to remind them that the federal workforce already has borne the burden of substantial budget savings over the past two years.

Since the beginning of 2011, the budget savings derived from reduced compensation to the federal workforce has totaled at least $103 billion (over $50,000 per employee), as measured over 10-year budget windows. This includes $60 billion worth of budget savings from the first two years of the pay freeze, and at least $28 billion worth of savings from the reduced 2013 pay raise proposed by the President. Based on the Employment Cost Index, federal pay scales should increase by 1.7 percent in January, yet federal pay is frozen at least through March 2013. Unless federal employees receive the modest 0.5 percent raise proposed by the President, they will be taking yet another hit. The federal workforce also contributed $15 billion, achieved through a 2.3 percent increase in newly hired federal employees’ retirement contributions, used to offset the cost of an additional nine months of unemployment insurance spending as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act (P.L.112-96).

Federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans. No other group has been asked to financially contribute the way they have, and it is time our nation’s leaders found other ways to reduce the deficit than continually taking from those who have dedicated their lives to public service. The substantial budget savings that have been squeezed out of the federal workforce thus far should be taken into account when crafting any budget deal. It simply does not make sense to negotiate deals intended to ensure adequate government funding while simultaneously undermining the adequacy of that government.

For these reasons, I urge you to ensure that congressional leaders and the President protect the federal and postal workers, retirees and their families during the ongoing budget negotiations. Thank you for your consideration of our views. If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact Bruce Moyer, chair of the Federal-Postal Coalition, at: bruce@moyergroup.net.

Sincerely,

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)
American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
FAA Managers Association (FAAMA)
Federal Managers Association (FMA)
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE)
National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA)
National Association of Federal Veterinarians (NAFV)
National Association of Government Employees (NAGE)
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS)
National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. (NAPUS)
National Council of Social Security Management Associations (NCSSMA) National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE)
National League of Postmasters
National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU)
National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA)
National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU)
National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO)
Organization of Professional Employees, U.S. Department of Agriculture (OPEDA) Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
Professional Managers Association (PMA)
Senior Executives Association (SEA)

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