On Tuesday night, AFGE National President J. David Cox, National Vice President Gerald D. Swanke and AFGE Legislative Director Beth Moten joined 18,000 AFGE members on a TeleTown Hall to discuss the 12 percent pay cut being imposed on government employees in the 2016 federal budget.
The U.S. House and Senate passed a budget that calls for a 6.25 percent increase in federal employee pension contributions – equating to a pay cut for the entire federal workforce. Combined with the budget’s changes to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and the Thrift Savings Plan G-Fund, federal employees would see their pay cut up to 12 percent.
“The most important thing you can do is talk to your coworkers about this issue,” said Swanke, AFGE’s District 11 National Vice President and AFGE Legislative Committee Chairman. “Go to the website, get the materials and hand them to your friends – then, put the phone in their hand and tell them they need to call Congress immediately.”
NVP Swanke said that the only way that AFGE was going to defeat the budget proposal was to mobilize members and to tell their lawmakers how the 12 percent pay cut would hurt their families.
During the call, it was announced that AFGE was launching a nationwide “Stop the 12% Pay Cut” rebate campaign which extends from April 28 to July 31. The campaign encourages members to sign up their colleagues.
“Brothers and sisters, we need volume,” said NVP Swanke. We aren't going to win this by convincing the whole Congress. We are going have to win by going lawmaker-to-lawmaker, and by having our Locals mobilize from member-to-member.”
Instead of cuts, AFGE has continued to encourage lawmakers to pass the Fair Act, (H.R. 304 and S. 164) which calls for a 3.8 percent pay increase for federal workers.
The 2016 budget is another way Congress is trying to balance the budget on the backs of working families, despite 7 years of repeated pay cuts in the form of increased pension contributions, 3 years of pay freezes, and lost earnings due to furloughs and a government shutdowns. All of these actions have cost the government workforce $159 billion.
To learn more about the 12 percent pay cut and the rebate campaign, visit the Budget Action Center.