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Posted at 05:22 PM ET, 12/09/2011

Federal worker union opposes House GOP payroll tax plan

The president of the country’s largest independent federal union is urging House members to oppose a payroll tax package unveiled by Republican leaders, arguing that the measure would make “huge cuts to federal employee pay and benefits.”


National President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen M. Kelley speaks during a “Proud to Work for America” rally in support of the federal workforce Tuesday, July 19, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer - AP)

In a letter sent to House members on Friday, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley wrote that the House GOP plan “would unfairly target the federal workforce for further sacrifice to pay for an extension of the payroll tax holiday, which ironically many federal workers are not eligible for.”

“It is outrageous that the authors of this bill would single out hard working middle class federal employees to bear such a disproportionate burden while continuing to oppose even the smallest sacrifice by the most affluent,” wrote Kelley, who heads a union that represents 150,000 employees across the federal government.

Among the provisions in the House GOP bill that the federal worker union cited are a proposed one-year extension of the current two-year pay freeze for federal workers and a 1.5 percent increase in federal employee pension contributions.

In their summary of the proposal, Republicans say that the pay freeze would extend to the salaries of members of Congress as well and is expected to save the government $26 billion if enacted.

Kelley’s full letter to members of Congress is below.

“Dear Representative:

On behalf of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and our more than

150,000 federal workers in 31 government agencies, I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 3630, the House Republican Leadership’s bill that offsets extension of the payroll tax holiday with huge cuts to federal employee pay and benefits.

H.R. 3630 would unfairly target the federal workforce for further sacrifice to pay for an extension of the payroll tax holiday, which ironically many federal workers are not eligible for. The offsets in the bill include, for all current employees: a one year extension of the current two year freeze on federal pay through 2013; a 1.5% increase in employee pension contributions, phased in over three years and the elimination of the social security supplement effective January 1, 2013, except for those with mandatory retirement ages.

The bill also creates a new class of employee, new hires with less than five years of federal service, called “secure annuity employees.” Those employees would see pension contribution increases of 3.2%; pensions based on high five years of service, rather than high 3 and an annuity “multiplier” reduction that would lower pension values by roughly 30%, effective January, 2013.

It is outrageous that the authors of this bill would single out hard working middle class federal employees to bear such a disproportionate burden while continuing to oppose even the smallest sacrifice by the most affluent. We strongly urge you to vote no on H.R. 3630.

Sincerely,

Colleen M. Kelley

National President”

By  |  05:22 PM ET, 12/09/2011

 
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