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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