AFGE Urges Congressional Support of the One America, Many Voices Act
(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees today applauded Rep. Mike M. Honda (D-Calif.) for his commitment to the success of The One America, Many Voices Act—a bill that would provide a five percent base pay increase for federal employees whose multilingual skills are essential in serving the public. AFGE worked closely with Honda to draft the legislation and is committed to helping to secure cosponsors in order to pass the bill.
Honda, joined by Delegate Luis Fortuno (R-Puerto Rico) and Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), introduced the bill as a way to address the need for multilingual workers in federal agencies and the lack of compensation for individuals whose language skills play a vital role in the ability of federal agencies to fulfill their mission to the public. For many federal employees, multilingual proficiency is a required skill. But unlike in the private sector, federal multilingual employees often do not receive any additional pay for this added skill.
“According to the Census Bureau, more than 47 million people currently living in the U.S. speak a language other than English,” said Reps. Honda and Fortuno in a joint letter to their House colleagues. “Increasingly, multilingual skills are absolutely necessary for federal employees to serve the public, yet there is no standard across federal agencies to compensate federal workers who make substantial use of their language skills in the workplace.”
The bill also will attempt to address the needs of the swiftly changing federal workforce. The new pay incentives will help make federal employment more competitive and hopefully attracted a younger, more diverse group of federal employees.
“In such a richly diverse country, multilingual proficient individuals are essential to the efficiency and success of our federal agencies,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “The base pay increase in the One America, Many Voices Act will finally reflect the important role these individuals play and provide them with the compensation they deserve.”