Congressional Staff Leave Their Jobs Because of Low Pay

Congressional Staff Leave Their Jobs Because of Low Pay

Mustafa Dogan/Shutterstock.com

Inadequate pay is the main reason congressional staff flee their jobs, according to a new report.

Forty-five percent of respondents to the third “Life in Congress” study said a desire to earn more money significantly influenced their decision to leave Congress, while 51 percent of staffers cited low pay as the top reason they left their current job or office. Fifty-eight percent of respondents earned an annual salary between $30,000 and $59,000, and the majority of participants worked outside of Washington. Continue reading “Congressional Staff Leave Their Jobs Because of Low Pay”

Federal pay freeze extension to three years all but a done deal with Senate bill

The Federal DiaryThe Federal Diary
Joe Davidson

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

Federal pay freeze extension to three years all but a done deal with Senate bill

By , Tuesday, March 12, 7:07 PM

Just when the walloping of federal workers seemed to have reached a peak — BAM — here comes an unexpected blow from the left.

At almost the same time, the workers were the target of additional, albeit not surprising, hits from the right.

Senate Bill Upholds Pay Freeze

Senate Bill Upholds Pay Freeze

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP File Photo

Federal employees will not receive an across-the-board pay increase for 2013 under the Senate bill to keep the government open through the end of the fiscal year.

The Senate Appropriations Committee late Monday night unveiled its continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown after the current funding measure expires on March 27. It includes a provision, also in the House-passed CR, that maintains the current pay freeze for federal employees and lawmakers through Dec. 31, 2013. Continue reading “Senate Bill Upholds Pay Freeze”

Sample Letter to Send Your Congressional Representative

IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time, or sent to others using government equipment, because it suggests action to be taken in support of and/or against legislation. Do not list your government email or government address in filling out this message, and do not use a government provided phone for this action.

February xx, 2013

Dear Representative _____________________,

I am writing to tell you how deeply disappointed I am at your vote in favor of H.R.  273, which will extend the current three year pay freeze for federal employees until the end of 2013. The last general raise, of 2 percent, was paid in January 2010.  There have been no pay increases in January 2011, January 2012 or January 2013.  Now, Congress has denied Federal employees a pay raise through 2013, meaning the earliest employees would receive a raise, if an extension is passed, would be January 2014.

Although I realize that there was a small extension (from October through December 2013) of the pay freeze for Members of Congress, your pay was frozen from January 1st through September 30th by the fiscal cliff legislation passed at the beginning of January.  Even House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) acknowledged that the vote was not about the pay of Members of Congress, when he issued his press release in support of H.R. 273: Continue reading “Sample Letter to Send Your Congressional Representative”

Letter for AFGE Local Presidents

February xx, 2013

Dear Representative _____________________,

On behalf of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local __________, which represents _____ (number in bargaining unit) federal workers at ________________ (name of installation) I am writing to tell you how deeply disappointed our members are at your vote in favor of H.R.  273, which will extend the current two-and-a-quarter year pay freeze for federal employees until the end of 2013.

Although I realize that there was a small extension (from October through December 2013) of the pay freeze for Members of Congress, your pay was frozen from January 1st through September 30th by the fiscal cliff legislation passed at the beginning of January.  Even House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) acknowledged that the vote was not about the pay of Members of Congress, when he issued his press release in support of H.R. 273:

The President’s executive order would have also facilitated a pay increase for Members of Congress. The House and Senate, however, voted down the congressional pay increase earlier this year.”

In other words, the vote on H.R. 273 was not about whether Congressional lawmakers, who earn $174,000 annually should receive a pay raise.  This vote was about whether the working and middle class Americans who take care of our veterans, who guard our borders, who maintain our military’s hardware, and who keep our environment and our workplaces safe and healthy should receive a belated and modest 0.5% pay increase after a freeze of more than two years.

To date, federal employees and their families are the lone discrete group of middle-income Americans who have made sacrifices to deficit reduction, suffering cuts worth more than $100 billion over ten years.

Specifically, federal employees have endured a two-year (2011 and 2012) pay freeze which saves $60 billion over ten years.  Current law provides that the 2013 pay raise will be only 0.5% and even that low amount will be delayed until April, the combination of which will save at least $28 billion. Savings from the pay freeze:  $88 billion.

Federal and postal employees were forced to pay 50% of the cost of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) extension passed in February 2012, which saved $15 billion over ten years.  To achieve that savings, federal employees hired after 2012 must contribute 3.1% of their salaries to their pensions, compared to the previous level of 0.8%.  It is important to remember that under Congressional budget rules, increases in federal employee salary contributions to retirement score as tax increases.   Savings from the tax increase:  $15 billion.

That brings the total sacrifice by federal employees so far to $103 billion over ten years.

For lower and middle-grade employees, the impact of H.R. 273 will be harsh:

* A GS-3 nursing assistant earning $27,322 while working in a VA hospital psychiatric ward will have gone three years without a pay raise.

* A GS-5 USDA meat and poultry inspector earning $31,825 while protecting Americans from E. Coli and other deadly diseases caused by contaminated meat will have gone three years without a pay raise.

* A GS-7 federal penitentiary correctional officer earning $38,790 while guarding ruthless gang leaders in dangerously understaffed institutions will have gone three years without a pay raise.

Enough is enough.  It’s time for Congress to reduce federal spending by finally requiring service contractors to make sacrifices.

Defense contractors can charge taxpayers annually up to $763,029 for the compensation of a single employee. However, in non-DoD agencies, only the five most highly compensated executives at each contractor are held to this cap.  Other contractor employees can be – and are – frequently reimbursed by taxpayers for more than $763,000. Since 1998, the compensation cap on government contracts has more than doubled.  Over the past dozen years, the increase in allowable government compensation to contractors has outpaced inflation by 53%.  In 2012, contractors received a 10% raise.  Under the generous formula set in statute, which is based on exorbitant compensation for private sector business executives, contractors will likely receive a comparable raise in 2013.

One modestly paid federal workforce of nurses, food inspectors, and correctional officers is scheduled to receive a mere 0.5% pay increase after a two-year freeze.  Another federal workforce where many employees routinely make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually received a 10% raise last year and will likely receive a comparable raise again next year.  Both workforces are paid for by American taxpayers.  What’s the difference?  You’ve just voted to eliminate the 0.5% pay increase for the workforce made up of working and middle class federal employees, but so far Congress has done nothing about the double-digit raises being given to an exclusive group of federal contractor employees in America’s top 1% of income.  It’s shameful.

I honestly don’t know how I can possibly explain your vote to our members.  I request a meeting to discuss this so that you can get a better understanding of the profound dedication of our members to the jobs they do for the American people.

Sincerely yours,

Name

President, AFGE Local ________