Obama to Back 1 Percent Pay Boost for Feds Next Year

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Obama is proposing a 1 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees in fiscal 2014, according to federal employee labor unions.

The White House announced the decision to recommend the pay bump in Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal during a phone call with labor leaders on Friday. Obama is seeking a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal employees this year, scheduled to take effect after March 27, unless Congress blocks it. Federal civilian pay has been frozen since 2011. The Defense Department this week said it would recommend a 1 percent pay increase for troops in fiscal 2014.

“After all that federal workers have sacrificed the past three years, they have earned a raise,” said William R. Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. “I repeat, they have earned a raise. We are pleased to see the president take a bold stance and advocate for this badly-needed pay adjustment."

Not everyone was so pleased, however. “While the president’s proposal for a 1 percent pay increase for federal workers in 2014 is better than a pay freeze, I don’t feel like jumping and shouting for joy,” said Carl Goldman, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' Council 26.

“There are a number of unanswered questions concerning the proposal: Will there also be locality pay increases that reflect the higher cost of living in many areas? Will there be a raise in federal employees’ contributions to the health insurance program, which could have the net effect of a pay cut? It is difficult to know exactly how to react until these and similar questions are answered," he said.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said federal employees "deserve more and this amount is inadequate. When compared with wage growth in the private sector, federal workers and members of the military will fall further behind, making it more difficult for the government to attract and retain qualified personnel."

The House on Wednesday will consider a bill that would freeze federal workers’ pay through 2013.

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