January 13, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

2002 Federal Pay Raise Insufficient for Critical Government Employee Recruitment

Categories: News & Publications, Washington, D.C., Press Release, Pay

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(WASHINGTON, D.C)—"As our government seeks to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, paltry federal raises do nothing to close the pay gap with the private sector," stated Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). "It is well past time to live up to the law of the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA) to keep our government running full force," he added.

Harnage notes "AFGE activists are to be congratulated on winning a 4.6 percent pay raise rather than accepting President Bush’s proposed 3.6 percent. AFGE's success would not have been possible without the steadfast support of many hard working members of Congress who stood up for federal employees in the face of strong pressure to go along with Bush’s plan. Without our union’s aggressive efforts on Capitol Hill, our pay would have fallen further behind private sector rates. This is an additional one percent over what Bush fought for and puts an additional $900 million in the pockets of federal workers and their families."

Bush's Executive Order of December 29, 2001 authorized an average 4.6 percent pay increase for GS federal employees. The raise will be divided between a 3.6 percent across the board increase and an additional one percent to fund increases that will vary by locality. The nationwide increase is an accordance with the FEPCA formula based on the change on the Employment Cost Index. The locality pay adjustment of one percent falls well short of the recommendations of the Federal Salary Council. Under the 1990 pay law, federal salaries should have reached parity with non-federal workers by 2002. If FEPCA had been followed, GS workers would have received, on average, a 22 percent increase.

The Federal Salary Council, for the first time, recommended that for 2002 three new pay locality areas in Raleigh, Austin, and Louisville be established. The Administration rejected this recommendation. AFGE will continue to fight for inclusion of additional areas and push for more funding for the BLS surveys that are required by law to be used to set federal pay.

AFGE is also deeply disappointed in the failure of the Administration to follow the long-established tradition of pay parity between military and civilian workers. In 2002, military employees will receive an average 6.9 percent increase in pay.

Federal blue-collar workers who are paid under the Federal Wage System will continue to have their pay raises capped by the average GS raise. However, AFGE was successful this year in restoring Monroney protection to DoD's blue-collar workforce, a change that will improve the opportunity for that group of federal workers to achieve true prevailing rates for their work.

AFGE will continue to make pay parity and adherence to the federal pay laws a top priority in 2002 and beyond.

Table: 2002 Federal Pay Increase by Locality

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