Military personnel don’t make a whole lot. One way to make ends meet is for their spouses to work at a commissary to supplement their modest income. Many of the commissary’s employees are also veterans. But the retired service members and military families are about to get hit as a high-dollar consulting group hired by the Pentagon has recommended cutting wages, health insurance and retirement benefits for the more than 15,000 federal employees who work for the Defense Commissary Agency.
DeCA provides discounted groceries and household goods to current and retired military families through more than 250 commissaries around the world. The proposal from the consultant would convert DeCA employees from the General Schedule pay and benefits system to non-appropriated fund status. This means employees would lose up to one-fourth of their pay, lose their retirement benefits, have to pay significantly more for health insurance, and could be more easily fired or have their jobs privatized.
“No DeCA employee is living large on her modest paycheck. Many DeCA employees are veterans and military spouses whose families depend on their jobs,” AFGE said in testimony submitted for the record Jan. 13 before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
AFGE urges Congress to reject proposals that would decimate the substantial benefit that commissaries provide to military families.