Federal Employee Groups Disgusted With President’s Proposed Pay Raise

Federal employee groups have been expressing their displeasure this week with the president’s proposed pay raise for 2016.

President Obama issued a letter on August 28, 2015 approving alternative January 2016 across-the-board and locality pay adjustments. In it, he called for an across-the-board pay increase of 1%. The letter noted, however, that some federal employees may end up with a 1.3% increase because of locality pay increases. For details on the announcement, see ement:

“It’s hard for federal employees to get excited about the prospect of a 1.3 percent pay raise when their pay rose only 2% over the past five years, when they’re paying more for health insurance, more into a retirement system that’s fully funded, and like so many other working class Americans have seen their standard of living deteriorate as wages fail to keep pace with rising costs for groceries, medicine and other necessities.

Federal employees and all working people deserve to be compensated fairly for their work, and that includes wages and salaries that at least keep pace with rising living costs. A 1.3 percent pay raise simply doesn’t cut it, and we will continue to work with our allies in Congress on a more meaningful wage increase going forward.”

National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon said:

“While any increase in pay is needed and welcomed, the federal workforce deserves a higher raise. An overall increase of 1.3 percent is simply not enough and is not in line with current economic data. NTEU will continue to push for a more meaningful raise for the federal workforce, one that would help the government stay competitive with private-sector employers and help employees cope with rising costs for everything from housing to tuition to food.”

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association president Richard G. Thissen said:

“In the past five years, federal employees have endured a three-year pay freeze, two years of limited raises, reduced pay due to increased retirement contributions (without any added benefit), furloughs due to sequestration and a government shutdown that caused grave uncertainty. They have sacrificed enough.

The President and Congress should resume the policy of providing federal employee pay increases in line with the private sector. We cannot expect to recruit and retain the talented employees necessary to meet the increasingly complex challenges and threats of today’s world without competitive pay.”

However, not all of the statements on the pay raise were negative. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), an outspoken advocate for federal workers in his district, had this to say:

“The Obama Administration’s announcement that federal civilian employees will receive an across-the-board pay raise of 1.0 percent in 2016, and a 0.3 percent adjustment for cost of living in the regions where they work, is a step in the right direction of fairly compensating the federal civilian workforce for the wide range of services it performs for all Americans. Although the 2016 increase will not come close to closing the significant pay gap that exists between federal civilian employees and their private sector counterparts who perform similar functions, it will at least slow the pace at which the gap has widened in recent years.”

However, Hoyer did add, “In 2016, I intend to push the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to support a raise that recognizes the importance of paying federal employees what they deserve in order to attract and retain the best men and women to the federal civilian workforce.”

Federal employees who also are apparently unhappy with the suggested pay raise recently started a petition on the White House’s website asking for a “meaningful pay raise.” For details, see Federal Employees Petition the White House for a ‘Meaningful Pay Raise’.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.