Federal and postal unions expect to spend a lot of money this year lobbying against mandatory Social Security coverage for government employes.

Congress is expected to consider putting new federal workers, and those with less than five years service, under Social Security.

The idea is to put them in the system that most other American workers pay into their entire careers, and eliminate "double dipping" by feds who get U.S. retirement benefits and Social Security benefits for minimum service performed in the private sector, or benefits earned by a spouse under Social Security.

Unions hope to convince the 80 percent of the federal work force with more than five years service that they too have a stake if their less-senior and future colleagues are put under Social Security.

L.J. Andolsek, president of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, says putting new and short-time feds under Social Security "would be tantamount to calling the note on the long-term debt of the Civil Service retirement system."

With no new crop of young workers (and contributors) coming into the CS retirement system, Andolsek says, the pool of money to pay future benefits would be exhausted in less than 20 years. If the government had to pay all the bills (now shared between employes and agencies) he thinks it might cut back benefits for people working now who will retire in the future.