Take Action to Stop the Cuts!

We never would have ended the government lockout without thousands of federal workers taking to the streets and demanding the return to work. We need you to stand up once again and tell our politicians that enough is enough.

Spread the Word: Media and Online

AFGE members saturated the airwaves during the lockout, doing more than 450 interviews in a matter of weeks. We need to get our stories to the press and win the support of our communities. Here’s how:

Learn More About Threats To Your Wallet

There is more than just federal pay, retirement, and jobs on the line in these budget talks. Cuts to vital services like social security, military readiness, and border security are all on the table. Learn more about the latest proposals here:

 

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 ________

 

AFGE Local Presidents – This Needs to Be Done NOW!

AFGE Action Network

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.

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.  Continue reading “AFGE Local Presidents – This Needs to Be Done NOW!”