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Union Coalition Highlights Sacrifices Made by Government Workers


Affiliates of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO were among the 15 signatories to a letter calling upon Congressional leaders to recognize the financial sacrifices already made by government workers in efforts to reduce the federal deficit.

Known as the Federal Workers Alliance, the signatories wrote, “To date the federal workforce has given $103 billion back to the US treasury. That equates to an average of $50,000 in compensation per federal employee over ten years – a huge sacrifice for any worker to have to incur. This is as a result of the two-year pay freeze, which equated to $60 billion in deficit reduction, along with another $28 billion because of a yet to be realized 0.5% pay increase that was recommended in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget proposal.

“The federal workforce also contributed an additional $15 billion through a 2.3 percent increase in newly-hired federal employees’ retirement contributions. That giveback was used to offset the cost of an additional nine months of unemployment insurance spending. When you consider that federal workers may end up incurring a third year of frozen pay due to the possibility of a full FY 13 continuing resolution, total federal employee contributions could be in excess of $103 billion.”

Just as important, the union coalition noted that federal workers remain the only group that has contributed to meaningful deficit reduction.  According to the signatories, “Federal workers have already more than done their part. Federal workers have not only answered the call to public service, but their individual sacrifices have been significant. For example, under the current two-year federal pay freeze a federal worker earning an annual salary of $40k will experience a $16,500 cumulative pay cut over the next decade, and a $37k pay cut over 20 years. If this pay freeze were extended 3 years, through 2013, the 20-year loss would increase to $54,840. These numbers more than reflect the fact that federal workers have stepped up to the plate.”

Congressional leaders should realize that there is a lot of misinformation being disseminated about federal workers, particularly when it comes to pay compensation and benefits.  For example, “It is also important to address the false notion that federal workers are somehow the beneficiaries of extravagant pensions compared to their private sector counterparts. Such claims could not be further from the truth.

The MTD affiliates in the coalition include American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; International Association of Fire Fighters; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots; Seafarers International Union; and Sheet Metal Workers International Association. Additionally, the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO is a member of the Federal Workers Alliance.

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