WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage today issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Congress will pay for extending unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans by requiring new federal workers to pay more for their retirement:
“I am outraged that lawmakers are willing to pay for this extension in unemployment insurance by forcing new federal workers to pay substantially more for their retirement. Going after the pay and benefits of working-class men and women does nothing to create new jobs in this country.
“No group has sacrificed like federal employees. Congress froze their pay for two years, which cost federal employees $60 billion in lost wages. Meanwhile, the millionaires and billionaires who have continued to profit during this economic recession haven’t been asked to pay one nickel more in taxes. We continue to pay massive subsidies to oil companies and bail out the banks that started this recession with their shady lending practices that caused millions of Americans to lose their homes. Explain to me how that makes any sense.
“As I understand it, this backroom deal will require all newly hired federal employees to pay three times more for their pensions than currently required. This action will drastically reduce take-home pay for these employees and make it harder for federal agencies to attract the best and brightest.
“And make no mistake, current federal employees are still on the chopping block. House leaders want to squeeze more out of federal employees to pay for the massive transportation bill. Their proposal would increase federal employee retirement contributions four-fold and lower the average salary that’s used to calculate pensions. These changes would result in a massive 40% cut to a federal employee’s retirement check.
“Cutting take-home pay for working class men and women is exactly the wrong thing to do to put Americans back to work.”