Coalition urges White House not to cut workforce in 2012 budget

Unions, management groups fight back

A coalition of labor unions and employee management groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama today urging him not to include workforce cuts recommended by his debt commission in the fiscal 2012 budget proposal.

The Jan. 13 letter specifically requests the president to reject recommendations made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to cut federal civilian retirement and health benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent.


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“These proposals send the wrong message about public service at a time when it is critical for the federal government to retain and recruit talented and knowledgeable employees to address today’s complex challenges,” National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Colleen Kelley said in a statement.

NTEU is one of the 15 organizations that signed the letter, along with the American Federation of Government Employees and the Federal Managers Association.  

The letter argues that decreasing the federal workforce is “more about politics than good human resources management,” particularly when 60 percent of all federal workers will be eligible to retire in the next five years.

 It also warns that a pay freeze could cause the government to lose its most talented and experienced employers.

 “In light of the growing number of critical challenges being tasked to federal workers, the government cannot afford to make substantial reductions to the earned compensation of individuals who have dedicated their careers to public service,” the letter states.

Earlier this week, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would implement the commission’s proposed workforce reduction and a three-year employee pay freeze.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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