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 ________

 

House to Vote on Fed Pay Freeze

House to Vote on Fed Pay Freeze

Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com

This story has been updated. 

The House Thursday afternoon paved the way for a full vote Friday on a bill that would extend the federal pay freeze through 2013.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., along with 28 cosponsors, wants to prolong the current pay freeze for civilian government employees through the end of the year. President Obama issued an executive order on Dec. 27, 2012, that would end the two-year salary freeze on March 27 — when the current continuing resolution expires — and give civilian federal workers a 0.5 percent raise in 2013. DeSantis’ move to block the order also applies to lawmakers, but Congress already voted to freeze its pay in 2013 in the fiscal cliff legislation signed into law in January. Continue reading “House to Vote on Fed Pay Freeze”

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.

AFGE Action Network
The House is planning on voting on another Pay Freeze next Wednesday, January 23rd. We need you to call your Representative immediately so they don’t vote for it. Monday is a federal holiday, so we only have today, tomorrow, and next Tuesday to get this done.  The most effective way you can get your message across is to call your Representative’s office number directly. You can find their office number online at www.house.gov. But if you don’t have access to that information, you can also call your Representative at 1-888-775-3148 to tell them to vote NO on another Pay Freeze. Here is the phone script for the call. After you have made your call, please record it here so we know that you have done your part in this fight.

The bill that they are voting on, H.R. 273, proposes to freeze Congressional and federal pay for the rest of calendar year 2013. Congressional pay has already been frozen via the Fiscal Cliff deal that was signed on January 1st, so freezing Congressional pay again is redundant. This is a Republican effort to punish federal employees, and they are trying to pressure other Representatives into voting for it by linking it to Congressional pay.

If this vote passes, it sends the message to Congress that it’s OK to continually look to federal employees as scapegoats. We need this bill to fail in the House, so the Senate understands that gutting federal pay and pension is not an option. Congress is getting addicted to taking from federal employees. We need to cut that addiction now, or they will be turning to us for every budget problem that comes along.

The message we need you to send to your Representative is to vote NO on H.R. 273. Here is the phone script for the call. And here are a few talking points:

1.     It is crucial that one fact be understood—the vote on H.R. 273 will NOT be about a pay raise for Members of Congress.  As House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) acknowledges in his press release in support of H.R. 273: “The President’s executive order would have facilitated a pay increase for Members of Congress. The House and Senate, however, voted down the congressional pay increase earlier this year.” The vote on H.R. 273 is not about whether Congressional lawmakers, who earn $174,000 annually, should receive a pay raise.  This vote is about whether the GS-3 nursing assistant who makes $27,322 a year tending our veterans, and the GS-7 correctional officer, making $38,790 a year keeping our streets safe, should receive a belated and modest 0.5% pay increase after a freeze of more than two years.

2.     Federal workers are on the same salary now as they were in 2010. They are living in 2013 with a 2010 salary. We have already endured a two year pay freeze and sacrificed $103 Billion towards the deficit. That’s $50,000 PER PERSON that we couldn’t afford to sacrifice in the first place. We are not Congress’s ATM.

3.     While government employees are constantly having our pay frozen and pensions cut, contractors have not had to sacrifice a penny.  If your Representative is really intent on saving taxpayer money, tell them to put a cap on contractor pay so the American people won’t get charged $763,029 for a contractor employee. No one in the federal government makes that much money. Congress should start turning to contractor waste instead of targeting federal employees who are already struggling to get by.

We need you to as many calls as possible, as soon as possible, between now and Wednesday to your Representatives. Please make your call to your Representative as a Local President, and ask your Executive Board to do the same. If you can get your Local members to also call, that would be even better. The toll free number we need you to call is 1-888-775-3148. Here is the phone script for the call. Make the call today, and call them tomorrow and on Tuesday as well. After you have made your call, please record it here so we know that you have done your part in this fight. Thank you for everything that you do.

In solidarity,

J. David Cox, Sr.
President, AFGE

 

URGENT: Need immediate and continuing calls against bill to extend federal employee pay freeze through December 31, 2013.

URGENT: Need immediate and continuing calls against bill to extend federal employee pay freeze through December 31, 2013.

Republicans will bring to the House floor, perhaps as early as Tuesday, January 22rd, a bill introduced by Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL), H.R. 273, which would extend the current two-and-a-quarter year pay freeze for federal employees until the end of 2013 — making it a full three years since federal employees have seen a raise. It is a continuation of the outrageous and punitive attacks against federal employees since 2011. A lopsided loss in the House next week could make the pay freeze permanent.

AFGE strongly opposes H.R. 273 and asks all Representatives to vote against it. Talking Points are below. An email alert to all AFGE members will be going out soon and will have a phone script and toll-free numbers attached. Continue reading “URGENT: Need immediate and continuing calls against bill to extend federal employee pay freeze through December 31, 2013.”

New bill would extend fed pay freeze through 2013

New bill would extend fed pay freeze through 2013

By Kellie Lunney January 16, 2013

Shaiith/Shutterstock.com

This story was updated with additional comment. 

A House GOP freshman has introduced legislation that would prevent federal employees from receiving an across-the-board pay raise this spring.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., along with 28 cosponsors, wants to extend the current pay freeze for civilian government employees through the end of the year. President Obama issued an executive order on Dec. 27, 2012 that would end the two-year salary freeze on March 27 — when the current continuing resolution expires — and give civilian federal workers a 0.5 percent raise in 2013. DeSantis’ move to block the order also applies to lawmakers, but Congress already voted to freeze its pay in 2013 in the fiscal cliff legislation signed into law earlier this month. Continue reading “New bill would extend fed pay freeze through 2013”