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Unions Lobbying To Keep Federal Workers Out Of Debt Reduction Plans

There has been a lot of talk in Washington about the ‘Fiscal Cliff’. It is dominating the new media outlets.  Some of the largest and most powerful unions helping members get in touch with their elected representatives in Congress.   Some are meeting face-to-face.

The Hill reported:

“Hundreds of union members will be on Capitol Hill this week to lobby lawmakers to leave entitlements alone and let tax cuts for the wealthy expire.”

“Union members from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will also be on Capitol Hill this week to lobby lawmakers.”

Richard Trumka President of the AFL-CIO stated:

“We just had an election in which one candidate proposed to lower tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans and cut benefits for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. He lost,” Trumka says in the letter. “We ask you to respect the will of the voters and promise to (1) let Bush tax rates for the richest 2% of Americans expire in December and (2) oppose benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.”

AFSCME and American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) are really making the push to leave Federal Workers out of the deficit reduction plans.   Just the other night AFSCME President Lee Saunders was a guest on “The Ed Show”  to talk about what needs to happen during these negotiations.  Increasing taxes on the top two per-cent and leaving Federal Employees out.

The Ed Show

The Republicans on the Hill are already pushing out their ideas.  GovExec.Com reports that many of the unions are already rejecting the GOP proposal due to another three year pay freeze.

“Federal employee unions have come out strongly against a new Republican deficit reduction proposal that includes a three-year pay freeze extension for the federal workforce and increases the amount employees would pay into their pensions.”

“A problem as serious as the fiscal cliff deserves serious solutions, and Sen. Corker’s proposal sadly falls short of that mark,” William R. Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said in a statement. “Though his proposal contains many promising provisions such as capping tax deductions and means-testing entitlements, the remainder reads like a greatest hits album of anti-federal employee policies. Under Sen. Corker’s proposal federal workers would pay more for health care, more for retirement and do it all on a smaller paycheck — that is, if they still have a job.”

President Dougan is referring to the employee attrition plan that would hire one employee to replace every three that leave.

AFGE is planning a nationwide phone bank for members. They are encouraging their members to call 1 (888) 907-5171 to be patched through to their Congressional Reps.

The federal workers need our help.  Look up your Representatives here, and then call them.  Use this sample script below (from AFGE).

Urge your representative and senators to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% — those making more than $250,000 a year. And urge them to oppose any cuts to federal pay and pensions, critical services, and Social Security and Medicare. Remind them that middle class Americans, particularly federal employees, have sacrificed enough. It’s time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

Even if you are not a federal worker, they need our help.  Make the call, these programs they want to cut will not only hurt federal workers but all working middle class families and seniors.

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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