WASHINGTON, D.C.-"The Senate Transportation, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee got it half right today when it took action to provide General Schedule (GS) federal employees with the same 4.1 percent pay increase in 2004 as proposed by President Bush for military personnel.
"Unfortunately, it ignores federal employees working under the Federal Wage System (FWS) and those employees working for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"Both white and blue collar employees work hand-in-hand with our troops overseas, providing the supplies and equipment critical to our warfighters. Many in DoD and DHS also risk their lives every day at home as border patrol and immigration inspectors, federal law enforcement officers, air marshals and defense workers, to name just a few. There is no justification for denying one segment of federal employees the same pay increase as another segment of the workforce or for denying them pay parity with military personnel.
"In fact, Congress affirmed in its FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill that there should be pay parity between members of the uniformed services and federal civilian employees, including blue collar federal workers paid under the Federal Wage System. Military blue collar and federal civilian blue collar employees work side-by-side for the same employer. They should both be guaranteed the same pay increase.
"Federal employees provide critical services to the American people each and every day. We proudly protect our nation from those who pose a threat to our country and its citizens. We're the good guys. It would be a cruel irony to provide our military personnel with a 4.1 percent increase and at the same time deny civilian defense workers and those in the Homeland Security Department who are protecting our national defense the same pay increase.
"AFGE urges the full Senate Appropriations Committee to follow the example set by the House Appropriations Committee and pass language that will provide pay parity for all federal employees, regardless of where they work or what pay system they are under."