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Federal Union Calls for Pay Parity in Response to Trump’s Minimal Pay Increase

AFGE says the 1.9% increase ‘isn’t enough,’ and that federal workers deserve pay parity

WASHINGTON – In response to the Office of Management and Budget’s announced 1.9 percent pay increase for federal workers in 2018, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:

“After seven years of pay freezes and minuscule increases that have left federal workers worse off than they were to start the decade, it’s good to see a modest boost in pay. But it isn’t enough.

“Federal working people make 6.5 percent less today than they did in 2010, and that is unjust. They need and deserve more. And while the 1.9 percent increase does not make up for years of earning less, it will certainly help employees put food on the table, pay their bills, reduce their debts, and cover everyday costs facing working-class America.

“In the years after the Great Recession, no other group sacrificed more for the American public than federal employees. They have given up more than $182 billion in wages and benefits – totaling $91,000 per career civil servant. That’s why we at AFGE call on the Administration to offer pay parity equal to the military by offering public servants a 2.1 percent increase next year.

“It’s not going to make up for the losses these hard-working men and women have already endured, but it is a start.

“At a time when federal workers are front and center in disaster relief in Texas, it’s vital for the American public to recognize their dedication and work. And it’s beyond time for them to be fairly compensated for the jobs they do.

“For years we have called for fair pay for civil servants, and will continue to press the Administration and Congress to take care of those who helped pull us out of the Great Recession. Today is a nice first step, but much more must be done.”

Push to Provide Federal Employees with 5.3% Catch-Up Pay Gains Steam

afge workers raise

Image from AFGE

Senate introduces companion to House bill that would help employees make up lost ground

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees strongly supports legislation introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii that would provide salaried and hourly federal employees with a 5.3% catch-up wage adjustment in 2017. The Senate bill is a companion to House legislation introduced in February by Rep. Gerry Connolly.

“Federal employees paid more than their fair share to help dig us out of the Great Recession. Now that the recovery is in full swing, it’s time for Congress to help employees make up some of that lost ground by providing a 5.3% catch-up adjustment,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are original cosponsors of the Senate bill, S 2699. The House bill, HR 4585, currently has 36 cosponsors.

Federal workers have endured $182 billion in lost wages and reduced benefits as a result of pay freezes, meager wage hikes, and mandatory increases in retirement contributions. Because federal salaries have failed to keep up with inflation, employees today have a lower standard of living than they had at the start of the decade.

“This adjustment will help employees catch up on their credit card bills, student loan debts, home repairs, and so many of the everyday costs facing today’s workers,” Cox said.

Congress must pass the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act to ensure that federal agencies are able to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees, Cox said.

“If an employer fails to provide its workers with competitive wages and benefits, many workers will leave and find jobs where they are compensated more fairly,” Cox said. “The government relies on experienced employees to carry out vital programs and services on behalf of the American public. We can’t afford to let these employees walk out the door.”

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

Federal Workers Deserve A Raise, Democrats Propose A 5.3% Increase

AFGE Workers want a raisePushing back against the Republican’s austerity budgets, Democrats introduce a 5.3% increase for federal workers.

Federal employees deserve catch-up contribution to counter years of lost wages

WASHINGTON — For a number of years now politicians in Washington have been forcing their austerity budgets on the hard working men and women that make up the federal workforce.  Federal workers have already given back $182 billion dollars in forced concessions through pay freezes, pay cuts, and increases to their retirement plans.

Nationally the economy keeps moving forward and the cost of living continues to rise yet federal workers are stuck in reverse.

“It’s time to raise wages for all working families in this country, and the federal government should serve as the model for all other employers to follow. This is why AFGE strongly supports the ‘Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act’ introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia. This legislation will provide federal workers with a 5.3% pay raise next year,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.

The bill introduced in the House in mid-January already has 81 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats.

“AFGE has led the call for a 5.3% pay raise and I’m incredibly grateful for the strong support our proposal has received. Federal employees have gone far too long without a decent wage increase, resulting in a 6.5% drop in their standard of living since the start of the decade,” added Cox. 

Nationally the cost of living has risen over 21% in the last ten years but most federal workers have only seen a couple of precent increase in their wages.  Federal workers have faced same economic struggles as every other American during the last 10 years.

“Federal employees are just like other workers – they are struggling to keep up with house and car payments, student loan debt, and rising costs for prescriptions and groceries and other essentials,” said Cox. “We are not asking for any special treatment, just a catch-up contribution to start making up for the $182 billion that federal employees personally sacrificed to help get our nation through the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

During the last six years Congress, mostly Republicans, have been using federal workers as their own personal piggy banks.  They take money that should have gone to the workers and repurposed it for their own benefit.  They force pay cuts on the workers and give more tax breaks and subsidies to corporations who are making record profits or to billionaires who are not paying their fair share of taxes as it is.

“As a result of six years of low to no pay raises, the purchasing power of federal paychecks has declined substantially. The women and men who keep this country running deserve a standard of living that keeps up with inflation and rising wages, which is why this catch-up contribution is long overdue. Congress must pass this legislation,” said Cox. 

AFGE Calls For 5.3% Pay Raise For All Federal Workers

vcsPRAsset_525404_86490_95a0a69c-3c0e-4be8-8c5e-83f07471049e_0Largest Federal Employee Union Issues Budget Day Call for Higher Wages, Improved Benefits

Key lawmakers signal support for AFGE’s proposed 5.3% pay raise at government worker rally

WASHINGTON – As President Obama issued the final budget of his administration Tuesday, the American Federation of Government Employees called on Congress to raise wages for federal workers, extend paid parental leave to employees, and reject proposals that would undermine basic worker rights and protections.

“Federal employees have been given the short end of the stick for far too long. It’s time to start giving back to the workers who give so much to our country,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

AFGE’s call for a 5.3% pay raise in 2017 has already won the backing of prominent lawmakers including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland – all of whom endorsed the proposal during a legislative rally AFGE held Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol.

“We are sick and tired of pay freezes and pathetic penny ante raises. We are sick and tired of falling behind inflation and further behind private-sector pay,” Cox said. “We’re not asking for any special treatment, just the pay increases we are owed after six years of low to no pay increases.”

AFGE supports several proposals in the president’s budget to invest in the federal workforce, including:

  • Providing federal employees with six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, and ensuring that employees can use sick days to bond with a healthy new child;
  • Hiring additional staff at the Office of Personnel Management to answer phone calls and emails from employees regarding retirement claims, which would improve customer service and reduce the average processing time for claims.
  • Increasing federal cyber security spending by 35% to modernize outdated federal IT systems, which could help prevent further attacks such as last year’s massive OPM data breach of federal employees’ personal information.

However, we are opposed to a provision included in the president’s budget that would allow the government to charge federal employees and retirees more for their health insurance if they are deemed unwell. We also oppose a plan to create regional Preferred Provider Organizations to compete against popular national plans, since this could segment the market and cause more harm than good.

“The federal government should serve as a model employer for the rest of the country to follow. Thanks to sequestration and budget cuts, federal employees have fallen further behind the private sector and are making less today than they did five years ago,” Cox said.

“We need to invest in our workers through higher wages and better benefits, and by fighting proposals that would undermine the government’s merit-based employment system.”

Obama Drops the Ball with Proposed 1.6% Pay Raise for Federal Workers

Employees deserve a meaningful increase to make
up for years of neglect, AFGE says

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:

“President Obama has again set the bar far too low by proposing a 1.6% pay raise for federal employees in 2017, continuing a regrettable record of denying federal employees even the most basic cost-of-living adjustments.

“According to the federal law governing the civil service pay system, federal employees should receive an across-the-board increase of 1.6% next year, plus additional locality adjustments to help close the pay gap among employees in the federal and private sectors.

“For six consecutive years, federal employees received no locality increases to their pay, and for three of those years they received no pay raise at all. Since 2010, the inflation-adjusted value of federal wages and salaries has fallen by 6.5%, leaving all federal employees with a lower standard of living than they had at the start of the decade.

“We believe federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise next year to help make up for years of neglect by elected officials. AFGE is calling on lawmakers to approve a 5.3% pay raise in 2017, which reflects the 1.6% national increase employees should receive plus a partial catch-up for the national and local pay adjustments denied for the past four years.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

Head of largest federal employee union calls for 4% pay raise in 2015

AFGE president says President Obama must send strong show of support for federal workforce

AFGE Logo 2WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today called on President Obama to provide federal employees with a 4% pay raise next year.

Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget, to be unveiled next week, will propose a 1% across-the-board pay raise for federal employees and members of the military. But that is a pitiful amount that does little to help federal workers recover from a three-year pay freeze, higher retirement contributions and the loss of pay due to sequestration-related furloughs last year, Cox said.

“A 4 percent pay raise is a modest and affordable increase that will help employees keep up with rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare expenses,” Cox said.

Wages for federal employees have gone up just 3 percent since 2010, while prices have risen 9 percent – not counting additional out-of-pocket expenses for sequestration-related furloughs, retirement contributions and healthcare premiums. In salary alone, federal employees are more than 6 percent worse off under President Obama.

Federal employees had their pay frozen for three consecutive years, and new workers are being forced to pay substantially more toward their retirement. Without counting the losses due to sequestration furloughs, these cuts amount to $120 billion in lower wages and benefits for federal employees during the next decade.

“The president must send a strong message that inflicting pain on federal employees was a miserable failure. The administration punished federal workers in order to endear itself to those who despise the federal workforce, and it didn’t work,” Cox said. “If the president truly wants to put an end to austerity and the decline of the middle class, there is no better place to start than with his own employees.”

Claremont Workers: Six Years Without A Raise Or A Contract

Today State Rep and AFSCME member Andrew O’Hearne and Jim Durkin (AFSCME Representative) went on the WNTK morning show to talk about the new radio ad highlighting the situation of the workers in Claremont, NH.  

Here is the AFSCME Council 93 ad that is running on WNTK.

Here is the 12 minute interview on WNTK this on 8-22-13

Below is a letter sent to the NH Labor News detailing the struggles that public workers in Claremont are facing right now.  

Thank You Linda for sending us this great local story. 

Claremont Workers: Six Years Without A Raise Or A Contract.

By Linda Horan

Claremont City workers have been without a contract and a raise for more than six years. An independent fact finder for the DPW and Police reviewed the bargaining proposal. After careful and thorough examination, he issued a report that called for a 3% pay increase, certainly modest, especially after going without for so long.The Union agreed with the fact finders report, the City turned it down cold. They want to keep denying pay raises-and losing veteran, experienced workers-until the workers cave in. That’s not going to happen!

What’s next? That’s up to the members! But make no mistake, they will not quietly accept whatever crumbs the City drops on the ground. We’ll be working with community supporters and other Unions who are concerned about the city and quality public services. The police who continue to serve and protect have already lost seven officers to better paying departments. the DPW in the trenches in all kinds of weather are also understaffed for the same reason. The Fire Department, who have also submitted a reasonable, modest proposal have been ignored by the city manager. They are anxiously awaiting their own neutral fact finder’s report. The Fire Service has lost at least 3 firefighters because of stagnant wages and low morale.

Claremont is not a wealthy city, the Unions understand that, so they are trying to be pragmatic and not have not been asking for a big bag of money. At the same time, City Manager Guy Santagate decided to give raises to department heads, some in excess of 6%, saying “these raises are needed as many in the city are underpaid. This is so we don’t lose key solid people.” Finance Director Mary Walter saw her pay rise from $80,103 to $85,176. Ms Walter said publicly that to accept the fact finder’s report the City would be forced to lay off 12-20 workers. The Fire and Police chiefs saw their base pay rise somewhere around $10,000 each. When asked how many would be laid off as a result of these exorbitant raises for the bosses, she reluctantly replied “none”. Interesting.

Obviously to Mr Santagate, this thinking does not trickle down to the folks actually doing the work.This is not only imprudent, it is shameful. It demonstrates a complete lack of respect, a slap in the face of those who risk their lives on a daily basis for the residents of Claremont with little thought for their personal circumstance. They continue helping and protecting Claremont’s citizenry everyday. It is time for the City Manager Santagate to do whatever is necessary to retain the City’s skilled competent workforce. As City Manager he has an obligation both to the residents and to the workers to do just that.

We’d like Mr Santagate and the City Council to understand that this is far from over. Activity will continue until the City goes back to the table and effectively bargains in good faith with City Unions.They all understand the City finances and are not asking for pie in the sky. All they want is for the City to respect it’s workforce enough to invest in them as well as it has invested in the the bosses.

We are asking for Union folks to help us keep the pressure on. Letters to Mr Santagate and the City Council (care of Claremont City Hall, Claremont, NH 03743) will help, Phone calls to Mr Santagate (603 542 7002) will help as well. Coming out to join us for visibility and informational pickets will help. Packing the City Council meetings with interested audience members will help. Letters to the editor of the Claremont Eagle times will help. With your soidarity this will not be swept under the rug at City Hall. Hopefully activity will escalate, Maybe with your help, we can have a show of force by rally or and/or press conferences. Bottom line: We’re Union, we’re proven and we will hang tough! With your help and solidarity, brothers and sisters, we can make a difference and hopefully the City will hear our one united voice!

For more information please contact chapter chair and State Rep Andrew O’Hearne AFSCME (603 558 1038), Brian Rapp IAFF (603 393 9651) or me, Linda Horan VP NH AFL CIO, retired (603 762 1331)

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