Future federal pay raises would look like this if Congress okays the president's plan to set up a new system for comparing federal and private industry wages:
October 1980 -- A 6.2 percent white collar federal raise.
October 1981 -- An 8 percent raise.
October 1982 -- 7.5 percent.
October 1983 -- 7 percent.
October 1984 -- 6.5 percent.
That long-range, very flexible forecast comes directly from the president's new budget. (Page 32 if you want to see it yourself.) It is based on the assumption that Congress will revise the yardsticks Uncle Sam now uses to measure how well his employes' pay and benefits compare with those in industry.
Using current federal pay measurement methods and government "owes" workers an October raise of 10.9 percent. Under Carter's reform proposal that boost would shrink to 6.2 percent. It doesn't take much to see why many federal workers and unions think reform is a four-letter word.
One of the major reform changes would require the government to compare the value of employe fringes against those in industry. Officials say it could be done this year if Congress approves reform by midsummer.
Many people think comparing "total compensation" rather than just wages would result in smaller future raises, since government retirement benefits and the number of holidays given workers are more generous than those of private workers.
Under reform, rate paid the 12 million state and local government workers also would be compared against U.S. salaries. It would create an area wage system for white collar federal workers, similar to the wage board system used for 500,000 blue collar civil servants. In that case U.S. employes in Detroit would be paid Detroit-style salaries. Those in lower cost areas would have smaller future pay raises, tailored to hometown industry rates.
Reform has a long way to go in Congress, but it has an appeal -- beyond the beltway -- to citizens who think federal workers who overpaid, and to private corporations who claim Uncle Sam is ahead of them in the pay-fringes department.