There will be an attempt in the Senate and House to overturn the president's proposed 5.5 percent pay increase limit for federal workers, and to vote government employes bigger raises.
Members of Congress who plan to vote against the president's pay lid can be divided into two categories:
Those who come from the Washington area who understand the needs (and need the votes) of the 60 percent of the adult population that either works for the government or the military or are married to somebody who does.
Members who genuinely believe government workers deserve a better pay raise than 5.5 percent, or who were planning to retire anyhow.
The rest of the Senate and the House - the majority - will be only too happy to help bury any "probureaucrat" attempt to give government workers what the government says they deserve to catch up with industry. Federal statistics, based on recent pay increases in private industry, say the civil service-military raise this October ought to average around 8.2 percent.
President Carter said months ago that he was going to ask Congress to limit that civil service raise to a 5.5 percent package that would cost around $2.7 billion. Insiders say he has not changed his mind, and that he will make the formal recommendation in the form of an "alternate" plan which will go to Congress by Aug. 31.
If Congress does nothing with that alternative (5.5 percent) pay plan within 30 days, the raises go into effect automatically. For the military the new pay raise is Oct. l. For white collar civilian workers it will be the beginning of the first day period on or after Oct. l. Unless, of course, the president sets a new date.
Congress could reject the president's "alternate" plan. Either the Senate or House can vote it down, and in that case a higher raise, in excess of 8 percent, would automatically go into effect for government and military personnel.
But Congress isn't going to go against the President. It will uphold the 5.5 percent alternate plan and, insiders say, it also will go along with a 2 percent raise, or a zero increase, if that is what the president wants.
This is an election year.And it has been an antibureaucrat, antigovernment year. Members of the elected bureaucracy and the government traditionally pretend they have never heard of Washington during these times, and spend most of their campaign energy railing against the evils of the system they are so eager to be reelected to.
Nobody in Congress but the politically suicidal, and the Washington area congressional bloc, is going to do anything to raise the pay figure the president sets. It is foolish for civil servants to believe otherwise and it is downright dishonest, and dumb, for unions to whip up members with pep talks assuring them that demonstrations, petitions, letters or whatever can change the picture. The president will get whatever he wants, and the figure he wants is 5.5 percent. And that is what you will get.
Retiree Raise: I goofed the other day (as did the Civil Service Commission) in saying the March l raise for civil service and military retirees was 2.2 percent. It was 2.4 percent. The next raise for retirees will be 4.9 percent. It will first show up in pension checks received in October.
Supervisory Contracts Specialist: HEW in Rockville has a Grade 13 opening. Call the personnel office of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration.
Smithsonian Institution's Richard Toye and Dorothy Glenn have each chalked up 35 years of federal service.
Civil Service Reform: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which originally endorsed the president's civil service "reform" plans, says the bill has been "ambushed" by prolabor members of the House Post Office Civil Service Committee.
The chamber says the bill approved by the committee would make it easier for labor unions to "politicize the civil service system" through changes in the Hatch "no politics" Act. It also says the House "reform" bill would put unions in the driver's seat in making decisions relating to promotions, numbers of jobs and in personnel disputes now in the hands of management.