(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today announced it will aggressively lobby Congress for a 4.4 percent increase in federal wages. AFGE activists have fought for and won in the last four years guaranteed pay increases for blue collar workers in the Federal Wage System, as well as all employees in the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense (DoD) whose pay raises have been put in jeopardy by the new personnel system authorities in those agencies.
“In the coming years the federal government will face an onslaught of employees reaching the age of retirement and leaving the federal sector. In order to recruit and retain the best personnel, federal pay must be comparable to that of the private sector,” said John Gage, AFGE national president. “The federal government has an obligation to reward the dedication of the men and women who honor its mission.”
In his FY2009 budget, President Bush has proposed a federal wage increase of 2.9 percent, a move that could jeopardize the federal government’s ability to recruit and retain quality talent. As in the past two years, the proposal provides that increases not be distributed across the board or even divided along the lines of the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, which is aimed at maintaining comparability between federal and non-federal jobs. Instead, the Administration prefers to establish a pool of money equivalent to the cost of a general pay increase and distribute it according to the Administration’s priorities, further politicizing the work of career federal employees.
In addition to arguing for the 4.4 percent across the board wage increase, AFGE will continue to lobby Congress to uphold enforcement of the existing laws pertaining to both the General Schedule and the Federal Wage System.
“We will continue to fight against this Administration’s attempt to short change federal workers,” added Beth Moten, AFGE legislative and political director. “Below market federal salaries impede the government’s ability to recruit and retain the federal workforce and places undue hardship on federal employees’ ability to provide for their families with economic security and stability.”