American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. delivered a succinct message to President Barack Obama about federal worker pay at an event commemorating a watershed moment in U.S. civil rights history in Selma, Alabama.
The AFGE was the only union officially invited to join the president and civil rights leaders for a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
“Boss man, it’s time for a raise,” Mr. Cox told the president on behave of the union’s members.
Even former President George W. Bush offered his thoughts: “Give these guys a raise,” the 43rd president told Obama.
To which, Obama replied: “This is the second time they asked me for a raise today,” according to The Washington Post.
And it probably won’t be the last time the president hears about federal worker pay, and rightly so. In recent years, federal workers have suffered through pay freezes and minuscule pay raises.
The president has asked Congress to give federal workers a 1.3 percent raise in 2016. However, it is highly unlikely the Republican-controlled Congress is taking much of the president’s 2016 budget blueprint seriously.
Large budget deficits continue to cast a dark cloud over Washington — and most spending is placed under the microscope. However that does not mean federal worker pay will be ignored in 2016.
But the likelihood of the workforce receiving a large across-the-board raise is slim, especially when agencies like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) suggest cutting annual raises as part of a massive rollback in spending in order to trim deficit spending.
The CBO also suggested restructuring federal workers’ benefits as well as reducing the “number of federal civilian employees at certain agencies by 10 percent” through attrition in an attempt to save billions of dollars.
Through executive order, Obama increased federal workers pay by 1 percent in 2015 after Congress failed to appropriate money for a pay increase.
Raises have been limited or nonexistent in recent years. Federal employees experienced across-the-board pay freezes in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2014, they received a 1 percent bump in pay.
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