The Washington Post

Federal union blasts Romney over remarks about government workers’ pay

The head of the largest federal employees union sent a scathing letter to Mitt Romney after the Republican presidential candidate made disparaging remarks about federal pay.

After essentially clinching the Republican nomination on Tuesday, Romney said “We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve.”

That comment roiled the American Federation of Government Employees.

“You know what’s really unfair?” AFGE President John Gage wrote to Romney. “The specter of having a new boss who thinks so little about the work that you do that he can’t bother getting his facts straight before making the ridiculous and patently false claim.”

Gage cited examples of work federal employee do that they are often underpaid for.

“Do you think the meat and poultry inspector who earns less than $32,000 a year while protecting Americans from E. Coli and other deadly diseases is making too much?”

Romney’s comment came amid a tense political time for federal workers, whose pay has been a target for months. Two years ago, President Obama announced a two-year pay freeze on 2 million federal workers.

In March, the Senate rejected a proposal to extend the pay freeze another year.

In April 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House budget committee, unveiled a plan that would extend the federal pay freeze through 2015. His proposal was rejected.

In his 2013 budget proposal, President Obama asked for a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal workers.

Federal employees make about 2 percent more in total wages than private-sector employees in comparable roles, according to a January 2012 report by the Congressional Budget Office.


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