AFGE members said it loud and clear: 1.6% just won't cut it.
On February 9, President Barack Obama's final budget was released and continued his practice of giving government employees less than they deserve. Hours later, hundreds of AFGE members marched to Capitol Hill in the rain to fight for the first meaningful raise in six years: 5.3%.
“We are the civil servants that love the American people and provide good government services to them every day,” AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. declared from the podium. “The cost of living kept rising and going up and our members have fallen behind."
Cox said that -- like the rest of the country -- middle class public servants have suffered while lawmakers have made it easy for corporate CEOs to feed off the hard-earned money of taxpayers.
"[Contractors] act like the federal Treasury is a cookie jar and they want to steal all the cookies," said Cox. "They're using our money, our taxpayers’ money to pay themselves more than we pay the President of the United States. You know what we say to that? Not no, but hell no!"
After three years of pay freezes, five years of locality pay freezes, and permanent cuts to pensions - which cost federal employees $182 billion in lost income - the proposed 1.6% raise is an insult.
AFGE’s call for a 5.3% pay raise in 2017 has already won the backing of prominent lawmakers including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, and Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland – all of whom signaled support for the proposal during the rally.
There's may not be a 5.3% raise in the budget, but there are some proposals that invest in the federal workforce. Here's a few: