Today's story is about three groups of people in Washington:
Those who will be getting a pay raise next month.
Those who will be getting no pay next month.
Those who will be getting two pay raise next month.
The good news for most of the 360,000 Washington-area government workers and military personnel is on Page 1: You will get a 7.05 per cent pay raise in October.
The bad news is for the also-rans. They are the thousands of government workers here, from letter carriers and truck drivers to soma very big bosses, who won't get any raises. In between is another group that will get two raises.
While you (and your landlard, grocer, tailor and parking lot owner) rejoice over the extra $50 million the new raises will pump into our economy each month, take a moment to reflect on the less fortunate. These are people - in and out of government - for whom the 7.05 per cent bell will not toll. They are people who will be paying the same new, higher prices the pay raises will no doubt inspire.
Group no. 1 is anybody in government making $47,500. It is hard to feel sorry for them; but they are excluded from the pay raises because Congress (after giving itself a pay raise in February) decided top bureaucrats should bite the bullet. So thye froze top federal salaries at $47,500.
The 12,000-plus postal workers here also are excluded from the 7.05 per cent raise. They bargain directly with management for pay raises through their unions. Their last contract gave them three raises, and six cost-of-living increases in a three-year period. But they do not qualify for this October's pay raise.
None of the 20,000 or more bluecollar (wage board) federal workers here will get the 7.05 per cent increase. They are paid under a different system. They are due to get a different (amount not yet determined) increase on Oct. 23. But it is not tied to the 7.05 per cent for white-collar personnel.
Most of the 100,000-plus federal and military retirees here are also excluded from the 7.05 per cent raises, which is only for active duty personnel. Retirees get two cost-of-living raises a year, the most recent one a 4.3 per cent boost that was effective Sept. 1. It will show up in checks mailed for OCtober delivery, but it, too, is unrelated to the active duty pay raise.
Finally, the group getting two raises. These are retired military personnel who have taken jobs with Uncle Sam as civil servants. Because they get both active pay and military pensions, they will get the 7.05 per cent salary increase, plus the 4.3 per cent cost-of-living raise as retirees.