Federal Employees Petition the White House for a ‘Meaningful Pay Raise’

By on September 1, 2015 in Pay & Benefits with 73 Comments

Image showing screenshot of "We the People" website

A petition was started this week on the White House’s “We the People” website asking for a “meaningful pay raise” for federal employees.

While the petition does not ever definitively quantify “meaningful pay raise,” it is safe to assume that it is at least higher than the 1.3% raise that the president recently put forth.

The author of the petition also adds in the description that federal employees are underpaid relative to the private sector by as much as 35%. The description then mentions an erosion of “purchasing power” inherent in the latest pay raises, presumably a reference to inflation. The average inflation rate since 1914 has been around 3.3%, so perhaps the author’s desired raise for the federal workforce would fall somewhere in the range of 3.3% – 35% given these numbers.

One can speculate on the desired amount, but the author’s main message clearly is that what the president has offered is inadequate.

Federal employee groups have also not been thrilled with the president’s proposed pay raise for next year. Several statements from these groups’ leaders released this week indicate a clear belief that the raise is inadequate.

FedSmith.com users said last year that they thought a 4% pay increase would be fair rather than the 1% raise proposed at that time. The American Federation of Government Employees also said last year in response to the president’s proposed pay raise that a 4% raise was reasonable. But then again, some lawmakers have said federal employees should get a 3.8% pay raise. I guess it just depends on who you ask…

While petitions on the White House’s website often do not lead to change, they can at least be a way to voice frustrations and draw attention to a cause. But as we reported a few years ago, a petition that was started to get an extra day off at Christmas for federal employees may very well have influenced the final decision which ultimately granted the extra holiday.

As they say, it never hurts to ask.

The full text of the petition, “Give hard-working federal employees a meaningful pay raise this year,” reads:

The federal workforce has borne a disproportionate burden of austerity: furloughs, pay freezes, benefit erosion, and demoralizing rhetoric from Congress. According the Washington Post and others, federal salaries lag those of the private sector by as much as 35%. OPM reports declining morale and difficulty in recruitment. Yet, feds continue to serve with dignity and distinction. Pres. Obama has pledged to support the middle class, of which feds are members, yet he continues to suggest raises that erode purchasing power. A meaningful raise would help lift workforce morale, retention, and recruitment. It would prove that Pres. Obama leads by example in supporting fair wages and the strengthening of the middle class. It would thank feds for keeping our country strong and our countrymen safe.

What’s your take?

What do you think is a fair pay raise for the federal workforce? Feel free to weigh in via the comments below.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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