Tuesday, March 1, 2016
|Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) is a strong federal employee advocate in Congress|
Last week, Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) introduced the Federal Adjustments of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, H.R. 4585, a bill that would provide federal employees a 3.9 percent pay adjustment and 1.4 locality pay adjustment for all federal employees in 2017. NFFE, along with our allies in labor, worked with Congressman Connolly to introduce this much-needed legislation.
Since the beginning of the decade, federal employees have been forced to endure years of frozen pay and pay adjustments that fell well below the rate of inflation. As a result of these woefully insufficient pay adjustments, federal employees now make 35 percent less than comparable private sector workers doing similar work.
Contrary to numerous myths circulated by non-government sources about federal employee compensation, federal workers are significantly underpaid when compared to workers performing the same jobs in the private sector. While false reports of inflated federal compensation and a broad focus on deficit reduction have led to calls by some lawmakers to freeze or reduce federal pay, history shows that the underlying rationale for reducing federal compensation – that federal workers are overpaid – is not based in fact. In every year of the last decade, regardless of political party, the administration in office has acknowledged a double-digit pay discrepancy between federal employees and higher-paid private sector workers. In fact, even before the effects of large federal spending cuts set in, President George W. Bush’s President’s Pay Agent certified a 23% percent pay gap. That’s right; just a few short years ago, President Bush certified that federal workers were drastically underpaid. They were underpaid then, and the rate of underpayment continues to grow.
To keep our country on a sustainable path forward, federal agencies and departments must be able to recruit and retain a qualified and talented workforce. Providing inadequate pay adjustments year after year makes this difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish.
“NFFE strongly supports Congressman Connolly’s bill to provide federal employees a well-earned and much-needed 5.3 percent pay adjustment in 2017,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “In the past three years, Congress and the President have enacted woefully insufficient pay adjustments that were preceded by three years of pay freezes. In the last six years, federal employees have lost a significant amount of buying power due to pay adjustments failing to keep up with basic inflation. Congressman Connolly and the long list of influential co-sponsors of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act are working to address this significant problem. NFFE thanks Congressman Connolly, and we will work with the Congressman to provide this relief to a federal workforce that has had Congress attempt to balance the federal budget on their backs in recent years.”