Proposal to Increase Federal Pension Contributions is Latest Assault Against Public Sector Workers

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is demanding a massive increase in pension contributions by all civilian federal employees as part of a budget deal to offset two years of sequestration.

The proposal calls for a 1.2 percent increase in the amount federal employees contribute toward their pensions. This means FERS employees would go from paying 0.8 percent to 1.2 percent of their salary, while CSRS employees would go from paying 7.0 percent to 8.2 percent. This would effectively mean a pay cut of about 2 percent for every federal worker. And that cut would come after a three-year pay freeze and multiple furloughs resulting from the sequester.

As long-time political organizer Robert Creamer writes in Huffington Post, this proposal is just the latest assault to be lodged against public sector employees in an organized war waged by conservative lawmakers and their allies in corporate America and on Wall Street.

Their campaign has taken many forms. They have tried to slash the number of public sector jobs, cut the pay and benefits of public sector workers, and do away with public employee rights to collective bargaining. They have discredited the value of the work performed by public employees -- like teachers, police and firefighters -- going so far as to argue that "real jobs" are created only by the private sector.

All of these attacks on public employees -- and cuts in public sector expenditures in general -- are premised on two myths that are simply untrue. One, that we can’t afford to pay people like federal employees and public school teachers the pensions we have promised in the past. And two, that the only way to make our economy grow and create real jobs is to cut public sector spending.

To read more, check out Robert Creamer’s column.

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