A new bill has been introduced to give federal employees a 3% pay adjustment in 2019.
Since 2011, politicians have cut federal employees’ pay and retirement by over $182 billion. As a result, employees are earning 4.7% less today than they did at the start of the decade. In addition, their health insurance premiums have gone up every year, making health care less affordable for many employees.
Coupled with misguided cuts to important programs, arbitrary hiring freezes that led to severe understaffing, and politicians’ hostility towards public servants, agencies have been hollowed out as thousands of the most experienced, capable, and committed federal employees have fled the government with many more to follow. The exodus has created a huge problem at agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has struggled to recruit doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to take care of veterans.
The bill introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act, or FAIR Act, seeks to curb the damage and reverse that trend by preventing federal employees from falling further behind with a 3% pay adjustment in 2019.
Righting the Wrongs
"For too long Republicans in Congress have treated the federal workforce like a national piggy bank. They've endured three years of pay freezes, a government shutdown, sequestration cuts, furloughs, and a mindless across-the-board hiring freeze,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly. “And to make matters even worse, the President has treated federal employees like his own rhetorical punching bag - hurling insults and falsehoods. Yet, despite this increasingly challenging environment, our federal employees continue to serve with dedication and distinction every day. They deserve better. The FAIR Act is step towards recognizing their contributions and providing fair and just compensation."
“Whether they manage fisheries for NOAA or keep our airports safe as part of the TSA, federal workers in every part of this country and around the world protect and serve the American people,” said Senator Schatz. “This legislation allows us to right the wrongs from furloughs, sequestration, and pay freezes by giving these hardworking public servants the raise they deserve.”
AFGE members thank Sen. Schatz and Rep. Connolly for their leadership and continued support for federal employees across the nation. Sen. Schatz and Rep. Connolly recognize the invaluable contribution that public-sector workers make every day to the benefit of everyone who calls this country home. They understand that it’s vital for the federal government to pay its employees fairly so we can recruit and retain the high-caliber workforce that the public expects and deserves.
“They also know the financial sacrifice that federal workers have made in the name of deficit reduction,” said AFGE Legislative Director Tom Kahn. “The women and men who guard our borders, serve our veterans, inspect our food, and protect our planet are worth this modest investment.”