Unions blast furlough proposal

Bill is the latest in hits to workforce

Federal employee unions are taking a dim view of a Republican-endorsed bill that would force feds to take a two-week unpaid furlough next year.

The bill, H.R. 270, introduced last week by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo), would require federal civilian employees take a non-consecutive, two-week furlough in 2012. Exceptions would be provided for those who work in positions of national security, public health and law enforcement.

Related coverage:

Federal employees could face unpaid leave in 2012

Cuts to federal workforce outlined in bill

Obama issues pay freeze order

American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage questioned the wisdom of the bill.

“Requiring federal employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave would have a detrimental impact on the federal services and programs that millions of American taxpayers depend on,” Gage said. “Even though this proposed legislation would exempt employees in positions involving national security, law enforcement and public health and safety, every federal employee is vital to the effective operation of our government.”

William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said a provision contained in the bill to reduce the pay of members of Congress by 10 percent is largely window dressing. Dougan said rank-and-file members of Congress would still make $156,000 per year after a 10 percent reduction.

“Though this gesture may give the appearance of good faith, the true impact of this cut will be minimal,” Dougan said. “Compared to the burden carried by America’s civil servants, who have already seen their pay frozen this year, this reduction is disingenuous at best.”

Dougan noted that a slew of “anti-federal worker proposals” have appeared since the Republican majority took over control of the House, including bills to abolish union official time, to extend the already contentious two-year pay freeze to three years and eliminate 200,000 federal jobs.

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Reader comments

Wed, Feb 2, 2011 Holli VA arkansas

Is this man crazy???Congress too -I mean come on-you hit Soical Security again-our vet's can not even make it on Social Sercurity, even in Arkansas-the cost of living is equal to California-with the exception of maybe buying (not renting)a home.I'm a baby-boomer myself and was born and raised in Southern California-so don't give me any crap about not knowing what I'm talking about-You and Our "great president" took our cost of living increase-for this year- People seems to think that Federal Employees make money-are you kidding me- If your not a grade 11 or above you people are crazy-now you are purposing this!!!!Come live with me and truely see how we make it...

Wed, Feb 2, 2011

Once again the republicans attack the middle class work force. Why don't they take a pay cut and 2weeks without pay? I have not ever seen a republican politician volunteer to forfiet any pay or reduced salary cut to themselves. This will only hurt my fellow veterans.

Mon, Jan 31, 2011

I am a Federal worker. We have half the people in our agency than we had 10 yrs ago. My office is manned at 80% with another retiring next month. So we'll be down to 70%. Requirements from congressional law - via the Federal register, and the public have not reduced. Less workers = less services. I don't want anyone to do unemployed or cut anyones pay -gov or not. If you don't want the services anymore, use attrition and reduce requirements. People will just have to wait longer on their IRS checks, medicare/medicaid checks, Social Security checks, passport processing, getting through border patrols....etc. Reduce gov. employees and accept the reduced services for you and your loved ones. Or support fair and equitable for all. Why give a trillion dollars to fat cats on wall st and the big banks, who gave the employees million dollar bonus's and then cut the pay of the poor gov. worker. Republicans - which I'm a true republican, should make gov employees scapegoats for their bad management of this nation. Congressmen and the Fed Reserve are screwing all of us.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

This is little more than politics, and will do next to nothing to reduce the deficit. If they want to be serious about cutting debt they need to go after where the big money is being spent. Defense and health care. Those two areas will bankrupt America if the folks in Washington don't wake up and do something about the escalating costs.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 Benard Washington, DC

I am very puzzled by Obama's continuing efforts to recruit federal workers. Whatever one thinks about the Congress, the will of the American people was SCREAMED for all to hear on Nov. 2 -- less gov't, fewer federal workers, far less federal spending, less regulations, way lower taxes. This Administration should not be trying to make federal employment more "attractive," but instead should be finding ways to cut the federal payroll and scale back federal activities. As I said, that's the will of the American people. Federal employees are not necessarily to blame for our financial and fiscal disaster, but they did benefit from the tax and deficit spending policies of the last 40 years, so they should bear a good share of the pain to follow. That's just basic fairness.

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