The PJ Tatler

A 3.3 Percent Pay Raise for All Federal Workers?

Two Democratic senators are pushing for a pay raise for federal workers, arguing that the workforce took too hard of a hit from sequestration cuts and a three-year pay freeze.

Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) are proposing a 3.3 percent pay raise for federal workers in calendar year 2015.

“Hardworking federal employees did not cause our fiscal crises nor did they contribute to the legislative gridlock, but time and again they have been asked to pay the heaviest price toward a resolution,” Cardin said. “In Maryland and across the nation, these public servants, mostly middle class and struggling to get by like so many other Americans, deserve recognition and thanks for their hard work and dedication.”

Arguing that federal workers unfairly lost a billion dollars in salary and benefits due to sequestration and a three-year pay freeze from January 2011 to December 2013, the Dems say the bill is needed to help fill a 35 percent pay gap between public and private sector compensation.

It goes beyond the one percent pay increase proposed by the White House.

“We need to strengthen and encourage our public workforce. The knowledge, expertise, skill, and commitment of our public sector workforce are some of America’s greatest assets.  No other nation can match our public workforce’s professionalism and level of accomplishment,” Schatz said. “Our federal employees bore the brunt of the sequester, enduring furloughs and a three-year pay freeze.  Our bill would give these working families a raise they deserve.”

The text of S.2397, which should include how the across-the-board raise would be paid for, has not yet been published by the GPO.

It’s already gotten praise from employee unions, though.

“Over the past four years, federal employees have contributed over $120 billion towards deficit reduction. It’s time we thank them for their service and sacrifice, rather than continue to devalue it,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association president Joseph Beaudoin.

“While private sector wages have risen 6.5 percent in the last four years, federal employees had their pay frozen for three years and only received a 1 percent raise this year,” said Federal Postal Coalition chairman Bruce Moyer. “Three years of frozen salaries caused the public-private sector pay gap to exceed 35 percent, with federal employees lagging behind. Instituting a raise of 3.3 percent, 2.3 percent higher than that proposed by the president, will allow the federal government to compete for top talent in the workplace.”