Pentagon Promises to Halt Pay Raises for Foreign Nationals

 “I was disappointed to learn this pay increase will proceed,” said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., during a press teleconference Tuesday.   “I was disappointed to learn this pay increase will proceed,” said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., during a press teleconference Tuesday. Nell Redmond/AP file photo

The Defense Department will follow through with plans to give German employees a pay hike, despite congressional backlash. But officials have committed to preventing future raises and bonuses for foreign nationals.

 “I was disappointed to learn this pay increase will proceed,” said Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., during a press teleconference Tuesday.   

Hagan had asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to stop the raises for German employees in light of American civilians going on furlough.

German foreign nationals stationed in Germany and employed by the Pentagon won a one-time payment of 500 Euro, an extra day off on Dec. 31 and a 30 Euro per month raise beginning in January 2014, after their union organized a series of strikes.

Hagan said the Pentagon had begun negotiating with the German employees before the decision to furlough Americans went into effect and Defense officials ultimately brought the raise down 8 percent from original proposals. She complained, however, that it was unfair the roughly 18,000 German workers got a raise while about 650,000 American civilians went on furlough, including 19,000 from her home state.

“When our hard-working American civilians are being furloughed and haven’t seen a pay raise in years,” Hagan said, “I strongly believe the department should be willing to stand up to any foreign government or union and put American workers first.”

Still, Hagan -- who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee -- said the Pentagon’s promise to avoid future raises for foreign nationals was a major victory.

“[American civilians] are not guaranteed safety from future furloughs until sequestration ends,” Hagan said. “While it may be too late to put an end to the pay raises in Germany, I am committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

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