As talks among congressional leaders get underway to avoid more than $100 billion in automatic government spending cuts that would begin to take effect Jan. 2, the unions are looking to Democratic allies on Capitol Hill to shield federal workers from cuts.
The federal workforce has been under a pay freeze for two years. The coalition calculates the budget savings from the freeze at $60 billion. Another $28 billion came out of employees’ pockets from a delayed 2013 pay raise that has been off until at least the spring. New hires must contribute more to their retirement, an expense estimated by the unions at $15 billion.
Some Republican lawmakers have proposed extending the pay freeze for three more years, reducing the size of the workforce by limiting new hires and effectively lowering the average salary on which a retiring employee’s pension is based.
“Enough is enough,” said Bruce Moyers, chairman of the coalition, which represents senior executives and managers as well as rank-and-file employees.
He said postal workers and federal employees, while not in the same pay system, share health and retirement benefits.