Federal pay freeze at Air Force base would hurt region, unions say

The AFGE’s Local 1138 is Wright-Patterson’s largest union, representing about 6,000 employees there. Base officials said Monday that the proposed pay freeze, which is subject to congressional approval, would affect 12,633 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson, nearly half of the total base work force of 27,000.
Wright-Patterson calculates its regional economic impact annually at $5.2 billion, including payroll and purchases of goods and services.
The employees that the pay freeze would affect have an overall average salary of $70,000, Robinson said.
“When we talk about the impact of this freeze, it’s on the middle class,” he said. “These people go to restaurants. They help out the Dayton area.”
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents about 90 base firefighters, whose pay ranges from $40,000 to around $65,000, said Jim Johnson, an IAFF vice president.
The pay freeze will cost municipalities, which could otherwise realize increased payroll tax revenues from higher wages, Johnson said.
The AFGE, IAFF and other labor unions oppose Obama’s pay freeze plan, which exempts the military, government contractors, members of Congress and postal workers, among others. The president proposed it on Monday as a step toward reining in government spending. Republican congressional leaders said the salary freeze is overdue.
The freeze would not affect bonuses or step increases for federal employees.

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