Unions fight proposed pay freeze for feds

Federal employee groups mount offensive against House, Senate attempts to freeze federal pay in fiscal 2011

Unions and federal employee groups have had their hands full working to turn back attempts in the House and Senate to freeze federal pay in fiscal 2011.

For example, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) came on strong recently to oppose legislation in the Senate that would have frozen pay and blocked a proposed 1.4 percent pay raise in 2011. The Senate on May 27 voted 53-45 to defeat that measure, which was sponsored by Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John McCain of Arizona.

“We believe it is wrong to single out federal workers for cuts that others serving our country are not being asked to make,” NARFE President Margaret Baptiste said before the vote. “More specifically, why would the Congress take a punitive action against the thousands of federal civilian employees who are working alongside their uniformed colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

At the same time, a similar attempt was under way in the House to enact a pay freeze, and possibly to cap the number of federal employees. The Federal Managers Association, the National Treasury Employees Union and others were rallying members to oppose the effort, which was expected to come as an amendment to H.R. 5136, the fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.

Last year, President Barack Obama used his emergency authority to limit the base pay raise for civilian federal employees to 2 percent in fiscal 2010, lower than the 2.4 percent raise called for by statute. The 2 percent hike was less than the 3.4 percent pay raise approved for military members in the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The administration’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal called for a 1.4 percent pay raise for both military service members and federal civilian employees.

To see more, go to: www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2093.

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