AFGE Local Presidents – This Needs to Be Done NOW!

AFGE Action Network

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We lost the Pay Freeze vote (H.R. 273) last week on the House floor, 261-154 with 16 absences. 43 Democrats voted against us, and only 10 Republicans voted with us. Here is the list of Representatives who voted with us and against us on H.R. 273. A “Yes” vote for H.R, 273 is a vote against us; a “No” vote on H.R. 273 is a vote with us. H.R. 273 freezes federal employees’ pay from March 28 through December 31, 2013, making it a full three year freeze.  The bill also freezes the pay of Members of Congress but only from October 1 through December 31, 2013, because their pay has already been frozen from January 1 through September 30, 2013 as a result of the fiscal cliff legislation in January.

It was entirely unfair for the House Republican leadership to devise a legislative procedure to force Representatives to vote on the two measures simultaneously; i.e. in the same bill with no ability to offer amendments.  The Republican leadership’s intention was purely political:  they wanted to force Democrats who voted no on the bill because they support federal employees to endanger their own re-elections because they had voted against freezing their own pay for the final three months of 2013. 

In order to make up for the procedural obstacle to separating the two provisions, Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced a freestanding bill, H.R. 636, to freeze the pay only of Members of Congress.

Before the vote, AFGE urged Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 636 AND THEN TO VOTE NO on H.R. 273, demonstrating clearly to their constituents that they supported freezing Members of Congress’ pay but not the pay of hardworking federal employees.

DO NOT ASK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES WHO VOTED AGAINST US ON H.R. 273 TO COSPONSOR H.R. 636 NOW.  THERE IS NO POINT.  H.R. 636 was only introduced to give our friends a chance to support us and simultaneously show their constituents that they support a freeze on Congressional pay.  Put simply, H.R. 636 was the political cover our friends should have used to avoid voting against us.

Here is a template letter of disappointment for you to send to your Representative, regardless of poltiical party, if they voted against us.  We need meetings this week with these Representatives to press our point that we have given enough.  Our press release follows.

Feb. 15, 2013


WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement on the House vote to extend the pay freeze on federal employees for a third consecutive year:

Today, 261 House members voted to deny a quarter of a percent pay raise to more than 2 million federal employees, whose salaries have been frozen since January 2010. This vote sends an extremely insulting and hostile message to the VA nursing assistant who makes $27,000 a year, to the USDA meat inspector who earns $32,000 a year, to the federal penitentiary correctional officer who earns less than $39,000 a year.

The message from these House members is loud and clear: we don’t value the work that you do, and we think you should continue to be picked on because we oppose the services you provide to the American people.

These lawmakers persist in voting to freeze federal employee salaries year after year, yet they turn a blind eye to the rapid growth in taxpayer-funded salaries of contractor employees. The cap in contractor compensation has more than doubled in the past 10 years and jumped 10 percent in the past year alone, to a whopping $763,000. Capping these contractor salaries at a more reasonable $200,000 a year would save taxpayers at least $5 billion every year, or $50 billion over 10 years.

Thank you for everything that you do,

J. David Cox, Sr.
President, AFGE

Author: AFGE Local 704

Representing over 900 bargaining unit employees working at the U.S. EPA Region 5 Offices in Chicago, Ann Arbor, MI and Westlake, OH.

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