After six years of budget cuts, pay freezes, and lost benefits, federal civil servants could receive a 3.2 percent pay raise in 2018, thanks to new legislation introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
The bill – the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act – comes on the heels of a 2.1 percent raise in 2017, after six years of sacrifices and lost wages.
The inflation-adjusted value of federal wages and salaries is lower today than it was at the start of the decade. And since 2010, Congress has enacted more than $182 billion in cuts to pay and benefits – which comes to a loss of $91,000 per employee.
Congressman Connolly stated that some lawmakers have made federal employees a scapegoat for all the country’s problems.
“[Federal employees] endured shutdowns and furloughs, attacks on pay and benefits, and an across-the-board hiring freeze. Their hard work was questioned. Now, thanks to the Armageddon Rule, even individual positions could be on the congressional chopping block. This is no way to treat a workforce. The FAIR Act is a matter of justice. Federal employees work hard, serve honorably, and they deserve fair compensation,” said Rep. Connolly.
Sen. Schatz said, "Federal workers in Hawai‘i and across the country have seen their earnings cut as a result of furloughs, sequestration, and a freeze on pay. These are the hardworking public servants who do everything from delivering our mail to taking care of our veterans. This legislation would help give these workers the raise they deserve and help the government recruit and retain a top-quality workforce.”
Public Servants Are What's Right with Our Government
AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., who last year urged Congress for a 5.3 percent “catch-up” pay, applauded the proposed legislation from Rep. Connolly and Sen. Schatz.
“AFGE thanks Congressman Connolly and Senator Schatz for their leadership and continued support for America's civil servants," Cox said. "Rep. Connolly and Sen. Schatz understand that federal workers have been forced to weather an economic downturn, a three-year pay freeze, unpaid furloughs, and a hiring freeze."
Civil servants are constantly targeted by lawmakers as the problem, but they are what's right with our government, Cox said. They are hard-working, middle class Americans who are an important pillar in our democracy. Many federal workers could make more money in the private sector, but instead choose to serve their nation.
“We thank Rep. Connolly and Sen. Schatz for their support, and we look forward to working together to ensure that the FAIR act helps relieve the pay stagnation that federal employees have had to endure for too long."
AFGE also thanks the original co-sponsors of the Senate bill: Senators Patty Murray, Wash.; Ben Cardin, Md; and Chris Van Hollen, Md.