Some members of the Federal Employes Pay Council are threatening to wear coal miners helmets Wednesday evening when they sit down with presidential aides to discuss the amount to the October federal-military pay hike.
Administration officials had made it clear the President may propose a ceiling of between 5 percent and 5.5 percent this year for government salary increases. They believe this could inspire private industry to make similar sacrifices, voluntarily.
Union officials have made it clear equally clear that this program is the most unwise brainstorm from the White House since everybody got in line to take swine flu shots.
The helmets come in because the federal union leaders plan to keep reminding the White House of the recent coal mine strike, which was settled only after the miners got a wage increase of about 31 percent spread over a three-year period.
The light given off by the helmets might, union leaders believe, serve to show adminstration economists that "jawboning" labor and management to hold down wages and prices usually doesn't work. The question they will ask is why make the feds take less when nobody else will?
President Carter has already asked business and labor to hold 1978 increases "significantly" below the average increases for 1976 and 1977. To show the government means business, aides want him to slap a lid on federal-military wages.
Federal workers had been anticipating a raise of about 6.5 percent in October. A raise of that size would add $3.5 billion to the $69 billion government civilian and military payroll.
White House aides admit that trimming the October pay raise by 1 percent wouldn't save all that much money. Rather, they see it as an important symbolic first step that could lead the private sector to make similar sacrifices to slow the inflation rate.
Federal union leaders say they won't accept a mandatory pay cap unless the White House is prepared to put a similar lid on the rest of the economy. They believe the government's 1.4 million white collar workers have suffered more than any other group of employes, because they are so frequently made to make mandatory sacritices.
The Wednesday meeting at the Civil Service Commission could produce some hard feelings and harsh words, even if the union leaders don't come in with helmets. They have threatened to block the president's civil service "reform" plan on Capitol Hill - and everything else he proposes - if the pay cut is made.
The union leaders are so angry at the prospect of a mandatory federal pay cap they are using terms to describe the White House team normally reserved for insulting enemies and frightening children. After last week's meeting with adminstration officials, one union leader used the ultimate expletive on the Democratic bargainers: "They're acting like Republicans," he said. That's how bad things are.
Maryann Jimerson of the Civil Service Commission is on the mead at Doctor's Hospital following surgery Friday. She's one of the top women in the government's media business, and one of the best - male or female - in the profession. Husband Tom is watching the little ones, who, in numbers and prowess, make up nearly half a Bowie soccer team.
Hispanic Conference: IMAGE, a national group devoted to upgrading Hispanics in government will have its national convention here June 6-9.
Mechanical Engineer: Social Security in Baltimore has a Grade 12 opening for someone with HVAC background. If you don't know what that is, you don't have it. Call Mr. Seck at 301-594-377.
Postal Raises: Postal workers will get a May cost-of-living raise of at least $234 per year. The increase could go higher if the consumer price index for March is up, as expected.
Federal-Military Retirees: More than 100,000 retirees here should get checks this week reflecting a 2.4 percent (before taxes) cost-of-living raise. Next COL increase for them comes in September.