(Washington, D.C.)—The President's plan to adjust salaries for federal working families by less than half that proposed for members of the military is just the latest insult to the men and women who devote themselves to federal service.
The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990, signed into law by the elder President Bush, was supposed to have taken the process for adjusting federal salaries out of the realm of politics. Salary adjustments are supposed to be based upon objective survey data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and reflect changes in private sector wages both nationally and on a local basis. To bring federal employees within a 95 percent range of their private sector counterparts would require across-the-board adjustments of 2.7 percent and locality adjustments in the range of 13 percent for 2004.
Rank and file federal employees—on the front lines of defending this nation's borders and transportation systems; providing reliable and professional support for our armed forces; caring for our veterans; providing Social Security, clean air and water, safe food and safe workplaces and secure prisons—deserve a decent standard of living and pay parity with their military co-workers. They do not deserve repeated insults from a President who devalues their work and questions their patriotism.
The President's proposed slush fund is nothing more than a cover story for his third attempt to deviate from the principle of pay parity between military and civilian employees of the U.S. Government. His ridiculous "human capital performance fund" is a decoy that is designed to mask what is really a slush fund that will allow his political appointees to lavish big raises upon themselves and their cronies, withhold career development raises from rank and file federal employees, and ignores legitimate attempts to solve the human capital crisis.
Fortunately, the Congress has repudiated President Bush's efforts to depress federal salaries and voted just yesterday to continue the tradition of pay parity for military and civilian federal salaries. AFGE will continue to work with the broad bipartisan Congressional coalition that stood up for the principle of pay parity and the dignity of those who work for the federal government.