Federal-employee union calls Obama’s proposed pay raise a ‘pitiful amount’

Federal-employee unions have criticized a 1 percent pay raise President Obama plans to propose next week, with the largest of the groups calling the increase a “pitiful amount” and requesting a higher 4 percent salary bump instead.

President Obama speaks to the members of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room at the White House on Feb. 24, 2014. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) President Obama speaks to the members of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room at the White House on Feb. 24. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama’s proposal, which is part of a 2015 budget blueprint the White House plans to release March 4, does little to make up for a three-year hold on pay rates for federal workers, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.

“The president must send a strong message that inflicting pain on federal employees was a miserable failure,” AFGE National President J. David Cox said in a statement  Tuesday. “The administration punished federal workers in order to endear itself to those who despise the federal workforce, and it didn’t work.”

MORE: Labor unions disappointed at 1 percent pay raise Obama to propose for federal workers

The National Treasury Employees Union has said federal workers deserve more as well. Colleen M. Kelley, the group’s president, said a 3.3 percent increase would be “fair and reasonable.”

In January, Obama enacted the first federal-employee pay increase in three years. But he previously froze salary rates for two years starting in 2011, and Congress later extended the hold through 2013. Agency personnel still received performance awards and higher compensation through promotions during that time.

Under Obama’s 2015 budget proposal, federal workers and military personnel would both receive 1 percent pay increases.

As for benefits, the budget deal Congress and Obama approved in December requires new agency hires to pay more than existing employees toward their retirement plans.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.
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Josh Hicks · February 25, 2014