WASHINGTON – The head of the largest federal employee union today urged lawmakers to rely on facts and evidence when discussing wage differences between federal and private-sector workers.
Private-sector employees actually earn on average 24 percent more than federal employees performing comparable jobs, according to objective salary surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These surveys are used by the Federal Salary Council to calculate the gap between federal and private-sector pay.
Some newspapers and conservative think tanks have falsely asserted that federal employees earn far more than private-sector workers by manufacturing and distorting data that never should be used to compare federal and non-federal salaries, American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce, U.S. Postal Service and labor policy.
This “misinformation campaign” has created a politically hostile climate that culminated in a decision late last year to freeze federal employees’ wages for the next two years, Gage said.
“In spite of the misinformation campaign and the pay freeze, AFGE urges the members of this Subcommittee to rely upon ‘the state of facts and evidence’ regarding federal pay. And the facts are that even prior to the freeze, federal wages and salaries were lower than the wages and salaries in the private sector and state and local government, when compared on a job-by-job basis both nationally and regionally,” Gage testified.
Gage urged Congress to end the pay freeze so the government can once again begin making progress to eliminate the pay gap between federal and non-federal salaries.
Electronic copies of Mr. Gage’s testimony are available upon request.