Pay parity supporters push for 3.4 percent civilian raise

Advocates of pay parity are asking the House Appropriations Committee to give civilian federal workers the 3.4 percent annual pay raise a separate panel approved for the military as part of the fiscal 2010 Defense authorization bill.

That figure is 0.5 percentage points higher than the 2.9 percent 2010 pay hike President Obama requested for the military in his February budget outline, and 1.4 percentage points more than his recommended civilian pay boost. Obama said at the time that the smaller civilian raise would bring "federal pay and benefit practices more in line with the private sector," which is suffering from the economic downturn.

"Federal employees work side by side with military personnel both here and abroad and deserve to be recognized for their extraordinary efforts," House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., and Federal Workforce Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., wrote to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., on June 22. "Civilian employees serving at [Defense], FBI, State, [Homeland Security], and at many other agencies support the men and women of the armed forces and work tirelessly to ensure the security of our nation."

Freshman Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., called for pay parity in March, but did not name a figure. Lynch earlier this year said he would ask for as much as a 3.9 percent pay raise for both military and civilian employees.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said on Wednesday that pay parity was an important principle that Congress should continue to uphold.

"Whatever the number, NTEU fully supports pay parity between civilian and military employees," she said.

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