President Barack Obama’s proposal to give all federal civilian employees a pay boost has elicited a response from a federal union boss: It’s “simply not enough.” Employees want more.
Jeffrey David Cox Sr., the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, called Obama’s announcement of a 1 percent pay hike “absolutely unconscionable,” according to The Hill:
It is not enough to allow federal employees to make up lost ground from two-plus years of frozen pay. It is not enough to allow workers, most of whom earn very modest salaries ranging from $24,000 to $70,000, to maintain living standards. And it is not enough to send a message with any kind of clarity that the administration values the federal workforce and doesn’t believe it should continue to bear an enormously disproportionate share of deficit reduction.
Obama’s pay hike proposal comes on top of a half-percent increase scheduled in March as a part of the fiscal cliff deal reached in January.
In addition, although government employees are coming off a two-year pay freeze, the only thing the freeze affected were annual 0.5 percent cost-of-living adjustments. It did not affect step promotions — also known as “within-grade increases,” which “are nearly automatic as long as an employee performs his job adequately,” according to the Daily Caller.
New federal employees can expect a a step promotion once a year, mid-management every two years.
Citing this fact, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said, “Federal employees have continued to receive promotions and within-grade pay increases over the past few years of the supposed ‘pay freeze,’ and voluntary separations from the federal government are near all-time lows,” according to The Hill.
Although Cox found the proposed 1 percent increase “absolutely unconscionable,” I find his attitude even more so.
At a time when private companies are announcing layoffs and reduction in employee work hours in order to avoid Obamacare, his statement is unconscionable.
At a time when the military is facing a possible reduction in force as well as possible pay reductions, his statement is unconscionable.
And his statement is especially unconscionable given that the so-called “pay freeze” wasn’t much of a freeze after all.
Read more at The Hill.
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