To come up with billions of dollars to pay for the recent massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the Trump administration drew up a plan to bleed federal workers dry in the 2019 budget proposal released Feb. 12.
On Trump’s wish list are deep cuts to employees’ pay, health care, retirement, and other earned delayed compensation. This proposal reflects the administration’s disdain for our government, its workforce, and the taxpayer services the American people have paid for and deserve.
Here’s what’s on Trump’s hit list:
- Freezes federal employees’ pay for 2019.
- Eliminates periodic pay adjustments based on performance and experience and replace it with a subjective “pay for performance” scheme.
- Cuts employees’ pension by basing annuity calculations on employees’ average “High-5” salary years instead of the current High-3 average of salary.
- Requires all Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) participants to pay about 7% of salary for their FERS annuity. The proposal would increase mandatory contributions by 1% of salary per year until the total was 7% of salary.
- Eliminates FERS Special Retirement Supplement for employees who retire before their Social Security kicks in at the age of 62. This is a bridge payment for those who retire early, including law enforcement officers.
- Mandates a study on the recruitment and retention effect of eliminating the FERS defined benefit, the portion of FERS that provides a traditional pension.
- Cuts the Thrift Savings Plan by reducing the rate of return on the program’s safest investment, the G Fund, thereby pushing every TSP account holder to subject his or her savings to the risks of the stock market.
- Eliminates the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for current and future federal retirees under FERS. Reduces COLA by 0.5% each year for CSRS employees.
- Advocates turning the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) into a voucher program. The voucher would slowly cover a smaller and smaller percentage of premiums, shifting costs to employees.
- Advocates changing the law to eliminate the requirement that FEHBP include nationwide indemnity plans, which allow participants to visit almost any doctor or hospital they like. The change forces everyone into a PPO or HMO, which have more restrictions, less flexibility, and often are more expensive.
- Cuts the number of days of paid leave for all federal employees and combines all paid leave into one category, eliminating the opportunity to convert unused sick leave to time in service for retirement.
- Adds disability insurance for employees with a serious medical situation.
Job-related injuries, job-related death benefits
- Reduces workers’ compensation benefits for those injured or killed on the job by making changes to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act program.
- Pushes to eliminate due process rights for all federal workers by extending the VA Accountability Act to every federal agency. Trump wants to turn the Civil Service into the spoils system so that he can fire any federal workers he doesn’t like.
Don’t let them destroy our government, democracy
The budget proposal proves once again that the administration has no interest in governing or serving the American public. Our elected officials must work for all Americans and not just wealthy campaign donors and big corporations.
Join with your coworkers today and send them a message that they will never succeed in destroying us because we will never give in. Join AFGE and become a part of the labor movement that protects good jobs, affordable health care, and retirement security!