As the country is battling the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 270,000 people in the United States, it’s front-line federal workers who keep our government functions running smoothly, risking their own lives as they show up to work to serve the American people.
Yet it’s clear the Trump administration doesn’t value the work that these public servans do. The administration recently sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman affirming its support of a pay freeze – flip-flopping on its earlier call for a meager 1% increase as asked for in the president’ budget proposal in February. AFGE condemns President Trump for his support of the pay freeze and for flip-flopping on his earlier pay raise proposal.
“The fact that President Trump backtracked on his promise of a pay increase is insulting to the federal workers risking their lives on the front lines of this pandemic to ensure government services go uninterrupted, our prisons stay secure, our military stays ready, airline passengers stay safe, and our veterans get the care they need,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “The Trump Administration knows that federal employees have been underpaid for years and deserve a raise – which is why they proposed a pay increase in the first place. Now that the election results are in, they are reneging on that promise, and that’s just demeaning, dishonest, and cruel.”
In order to ensure agencies’ ability to recruit and retain the federal employees needed to staff our Veterans Affairs hospitals, federal prisons, Defense installations and public health agencies, federal pay should be adjusted by at least 3.5% next year, which would reflect a 2.5% nationwide increase plus an additional 1% to be distributed according to the size of regional market pay gaps.
A pay freeze further shows how the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans are in lockstep on hollowing out the federal government – making it that much harder to respond to national crises like the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s sad that even on his way out, President Trump still can’t resist the opportunity to stick it to the government workers he so often vilified during his four years in office,” Kelley added. “If he wants to throw a temper tantrum over the American people’s decision, he needs to leave federal employees out of it.”