Federal Unions Blast Obama Budget

“This is simply inadequate, particularly in light of what will become the end of 2013 a three-year pay freeze,” National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said. “This is simply inadequate, particularly in light of what will become the end of 2013 a three-year pay freeze,” National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said. National Treasury Employees Union

When President Obama’s economic team said the fiscal 2014 budget would seek to “hit the fiscal sweet spot,” they probably weren’t referring to the sour reactions the plan has drawn from an array of federal employee unions.

Soon after the document was released on Wednesday, President Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said, “It is outrageous to see the federal workforce targeted once again despite the massive contribution employees already are making to deficit reduction.”

Her group opposes Obama’s plan of a 1.2 percent hike over three years in employee contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System, and was less than thrilled with the president’s plan for a 1 percent federal pay hike. “This is simply inadequate, particularly in light of what will become the end of 2013 a three-year pay freeze,” Kelley added: “It is time to get the federal pay raise back on track.”

Obama’s budget also would shift costs of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to require employees to pay more in order to save the government $8.4 billion over a decade while also seeking to modernize the program. The Office of Personnel “would be given authority to make adjustments to premiums based on an enrollee's tobacco use and/or participation in a wellness program," the proposal said. Union officials said they worried the government could charge higher rates to sick or obese employees.

In testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and the Census, Jacqueline Simon, public policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, said, “With federal pay frozen for three straight years, massive tax increases on FERS employees via increased retirement contributions, and furloughs of up to 14 days that may be repeated each year for the next decade, federal employees cannot withstand any more reductions in their compensation.” The administration, she added, “calls this ‘modernization’ of benefits; we call it cannibalization.”

William Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, blasted the budget’s proposed hike in pension contributions and elimination of the FERS annuity supplement as well has proposed changes to the formula for calculating Social Security and other benefits. “It’s clear today that Washington has abandoned federal employees,” Dougan said, adding that his union also considers the 1 percent pay raise proposal insufficient. “The White House has said time and time again that they value the contributions federal workers make to their country, but this budget tells a different story entirely,” he said. “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Another thumbs down came from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, whose president Joseph Beaudoin attacked the so-called “Chained CPI” proposal to change benefits by saying, “Enough is Enough!” He said “pay freezes, furloughs, sequestration, understaffing and the stress of a looming government shutdown are exacting a heavy toll from the nation’s 4.6 million active and retired federal employees. Committed and talented people are needed in federal jobs,” he added. But “budgets like the one released today by the White House could make federal jobs dangerously noncompetitive.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.