(WASHINGTON) - In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, the American Federation of Government Employees stressed the importance of retaining retention payments for employees at the Federal Protective Service (FPS), and asked Myers to reverse the decision.
As per a memo from ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management Teresa Bertucci, retention payments are being suspended to “resolve funding shortfalls.” AFGE, which represents about 65 percent of FPS employees, said the money saved by cutting retention pay won’t even come close to the amount the agency is behind.
Eliminating retention pay will save [ICE] an estimated $3 million out of a projected shortfall estimated to be between $27 and $60 million,” AFGE National President John Gage wrote. “It is both unfair and short-sighted to move forward with this directive. Cutting employee pay will “further erode FPS’ ability to provide the homeland security protection its mission requires, as well as the morale of every affected employee and family member.
“FPS workers are being told they will face what amounts to a 10 percent reduction in pay because the agency has been unable to balance its budget,” Gage said. Looking to be part of the solution, “AFGE stands ready to work closely with [ICE] in an effort to restore and even increase the FPS budget in the next Congress.”
FPS provides security for the federal court system and more than 90 percent of all federal buildings in the United States. In addition, FPS assists in emergency situations, such as after Hurricane Katrina when FPS officers were among the first on the scene in New Orleans.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.