Federal pay raise challenged, but union head defends it

Republicans may try to block proposed federal pay raise

A published report stating that the number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has increased dramatically is misleading and "paints an inaccurate picture of the workforce and makes a flawed argument against the proposed 1.4 percent pay raise for federal employees," according to Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

Kelley wrote her rebuttal in a statement released today that responded to an article USA Today published Nov. 9. The article said the number of feds making more than $150,000 has increased tenfold in the past five years.

The newspaper updated its article today to include part of Kelley's statement. However, it omitted Kelley's detailed explanation of the figures.

"Among the 82,000 federal employees earning at least $150,000, more than half are doctors, lawyers, scientists, executives leading agencies or major programs, or people with specialized skills, such as nuclear scientists and air traffic controllers," she wrote. "Of the nearly 30 percent of that group who are doctors, the majority of them work at the Veterans Administration caring for wounded service members. By comparison, the Medical Group Management Association reports that median physician compensation in 2009 ranged from just under $200,000 for primary care physicians to $350,000 for specialty care physicians."

More than two-thirds of the federal workforce earns less than $80,000 a year, she noted.

Still, some congressional Republians want to block the proposed 1.4 percent pay raise for federal employees, the smallest annual increase in more than a decade, according to an earlier USA Today article.

Kelley said the proposed raise is a modest amount and should be implemented.

More on federal pay:

Federal vs. private pay: The latest take on who makes more


About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader comments

Wed, Mar 2, 2011

I agree with Virginia...STOP Travel Pay!!!

Thu, Dec 2, 2010 Virginia

I think they could save a lot of money if they would terminate "Travel Pay" that veterans get for going to the VA hospital for appointments. Some Veterans deserve the pay, but if they would only take a serious look at the almost $2 million they spend yearly for "Travel Pay" at the Hampton VA Medical Center and how the Veterans come into the facility, curse out the employees and make threats and get away with it, just because they want that money! It is totally ridiculous. Some vets come there for any kind of class they can find, just to get travel pay. It is almost like going to the VA Medical Center is the best way to get a daily check for doing nothing. I wonder if the American people know just how much of their money is wasted for travel pay. Also, wouldn't the average american love to get paid for traveling to their medical appointments which are FREE!

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 BLS Fort Hood

Locality pay is only 8 to 14% and in some places is only 2 or 3%. We contribute to our 401K plan just like everyone else and our insurance is Blue Cross or Aetna or other plans just like everyone else. We pay our portion and there is not a seperate retirement plan. People's impression of government pay is really warped and unreal.

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 SAMIAM

Contractors are treated with disrespect and like we are overpayed. False. I don't get a pension, my employer does a .5% match on 401K up to a set limit. I had to opt out of healthcare covereage next year because most companies to going to HSA's which are ripoffs. I am sure the government is paying $100k+ a year for me, but I am seeing less than half of that. So it's a myth that contractors are genrously paid. I would go GS in a heartbeat, job security, reasonable healthcare, and a great retirement plan. Also I can treat contractors like trash for no reason at all, and they can't do anything about it out of fera of job loss or loss of contract.Feds are very well paid don't let em fool ya.

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 christopher gabaree Meade

My question is will the elected officials not get a raise as well...because we all know that they deserve it. Just saying

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