The president of one union representing federal workers delivered a simple message to Washington regarding cuts in pay and benefits: “Enough is enough.”
Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, is part of a concerted effort among union leadership to push back against Congress for recent laws that have had a severe impact on your pay and benefits.
And there are more proposals being debated in Congress that could, for better or worse, affect your pay and benefits, including your pension and healthcare. Earlier this month, we went over some of the key proposals and what you can expect if the bills actually get passed by Congress.
In an April 20 letter to Congressional leaders, Ms. Kelley noted that since 2010, federal workers have “contributed $159 billion in deficit reduction.” Obviously, you know you did not do so willingly. Congress declared pay freezes, furloughs, and passed a law that increased pension contribution rates for newly hired federal workers.
According to Ms. Kelley’s statistics, federal workers lost $137 billion in pay, contributed an additional $21 billion because of higher pension rates, and lost $1 billion in salary due to furloughs as a result of Congressional deadlocks and sequestration.
“I think it’s pretty clear that, as an employer, Congress cannot continue to take actions that harm federal employees, including government shutdowns and furloughs in addition to reductions in benefits, and expect federal employees to not be affected negatively by those actions,” she said. “I am asking you to look elsewhere for additional savings. Enough is enough.”
Her request will surely be met with resistance. Recently, as noted in a previously published blog post, the Senate passed a budget resolution that called for increasing federal worker pension contributions, as well as ordering agencies to limit hiring new employees.
Also, the House passed a budget resolution calling for increasing federal worker pension contributions and ordered agencies to limit hiring in order to reduce the entire federal workforce by 10 percent.
We don’t know what may come of these resolutions, as nothing is certain in Washington. The ideological divide in Washington is about as wide as the Grand Canyon.
The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents approximately 150,000 federal workers, is supporting legislation that would increase your pay 3.8 percent in 2016. That’s well above what the Obama Administration declared in its 2016 budget blueprint (1.3 percent).
We’ll continue to track these developments and publish any significant developments in this blog.
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