Metro Washington, which took over 30 percent of the rif casualties during the first year of President Reagan's war on big government, has been hit far less hard in the layoff department since the current fiscal year began last October.
But a new report by the Federal Government Service Task Force says that this area -- which has 12.5 percent of the federal work force -- is still suffering job security jitters, and that women and minorities continue to be hardest hit when Uncle Sam passes out the pink slips.
The task force, headed by U.S. Rep. Mike Barnes (D-Md.), says that nationwide 9,593 federal workers were fired for economy reasons from the beginning of the administration through March of this year. During that time, about 2,800 people in metro Washington were riffed, although the number of federal jobs here dropped more than 20,000.
Since October, the task force says, just over 10 percent of the firings occurred in the Washington area -- primarily because so many employes had been riffed earlier.
The task force says that 62.9 percent of the people fired during the entire period were women (who make up 32 percent of the federal workforce) and that minorities were hit harder than their proportion of federal employment.
At the same time, Barnes says 10,000 federal workers were furloughed without pay -- from two days to several months in a few cases -- and many more workers were downgraded (demoted) or transferred to other jobs because of the ripple effect rifs have on federal agencies.
(The Reagan administration is now proposing a change in rif rules, which currently give greater job protection to veterans and long-service employes, in favor of a system that gives more weight to individual job performance.)
Barnes says the rifs and fear of layoffs have produced a "lottery of fear" that has paralyzed many federal agencies. He has introduced legislation -- his bill now has more than 40 cosponsors -- that would force federal agencies to seek other money-savings alternatives, and use rifs only as a last resort.