Federal union wants bigger pay raiseNews added by Benefits Pro on February 28, 2014

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By Allen Greenberg

First he called it “pitiful,” then he countered with what he termed “modest and affordable.”

“He,” in this case is J. David Cox Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, and his comments were made in response this week to a proposal by President Obama that all federal employees and member of the military should get a 1 percent pay raise in fiscal 2015.

“Federal employees have endured years of pay freezes and cuts in retirement benefits,” Cox said. “Federal employees deserve a meaningful pay raise, not a token increase that will be more than eaten up by rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare costs.”

Federal employees, as Cox pointed out in his statement, already have had their pay frozen for three straight years, and new workers are forced to pay substantially more toward their retirement.

Without counting the losses due to sequestration furloughs, these cuts amount to $120 billion in lower wages and benefits for federal employees during the next decade, the union said.

President Obama has said that his upcoming budget will reflect an ‘end to austerity.’ We wholeheartedly support that. But a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees who have seen more austerity than anyone else is pitiful,” Cox said.

So, what does Cox think might the right figure?

“A 4 percent pay raise,” he said, “is a modest and affordable increase that will help employees keep up with rising living costs, including higher retirement and healthcare expenses.”

The president plans to unveil his 2015 budget next week. Whether it will reflect Obama’s initial thoughts vs. the union’s feedback will be settled then.

The union is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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