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Employee Groups Continue to Push for Bigger Pay Raise Following Biden Budget Release

Several organizations representing federal employees announce that they support a 3.2% pay increase next year, rather than the 2.7% boost proposed in the president’s fiscal 2022 budget.

Most unions and other organizations representing federal employees issued a measured response to President Biden’s proposed average pay raise of 2.7% in 2022, thanking him but demanding more.

It is unclear how Biden’s pay raise proposal, which was released late last week as part of his detailed fiscal 2022 budget plan, would be divvied up between basic pay and locality pay. It marks an increase over the 1% across-the-board raise federal workers received at the beginning of 2021, but a decrease from the 3.1% raise they got in 2020.

The federal government’s two largest labor unions, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, both said that while they were largely supportive of the budget, particularly the provisions aimed at bolstering agency staffing and funding, they continue to back the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act, which would grant feds an average 3.2% pay increase next year, split between a 2.2% across-the-board pay raise and an average 1% increase in locality pay.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who introduced that bill, said the administration must do more to counteract the previous administration’s unsuccessful efforts to freeze feds’ pay and otherwise attack their benefits and workplace protections.

“The president’s budget is great progress towards the goal of competitive compensation for our federal workforce and a clear recognition of the important work federal employees have done throughout the pandemic,” Connolly said. “However, these public servants have endured years of pay freezes and attacks from the previous administration. If we are going to recruit the next generation of public servants and be competitive with the private sector, Congress must pass the FAIR Act and give federal employees a 3.2% raise.”

The Federal Managers Association also continued to push for the adoption of a 3.2% raise in 2022, and called on the administration to pursue lifting the federal pay ceiling on higher paying federal jobs.

“We recognize the proposed 2.7% pay raise for the federal workforce as a significant improvement from the 1% raise feds received this year, and we acknowledge the return to the traditional pay parity for feds with the uniformed military,” said FMA National President Craig Carter. “FMA is already on record as endorsing the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act in both the House and Senate, which would provide for a 3.2% pay raise in 2022, and we will continue to advocate for that as a reasonable boost for both the federal workforce and the military.”

National Federation of Federal Employees National President Randy Erwin said the president’s budget signals “genuine support” for federal workers, but the union will “continue discussions” with the White House on the adoption of the FAIR Act and other issues.

“It is a relief to have the backing of the White House especially after a long period of uncertainty caused by overcharged politics and a national pandemic,” Erwin said. “Federal workers never stopped working for the American people during that time, but it is imperative to again focus on the business of government and improve upon the effectiveness and efficiency of our collective missions.”

The push for a larger pay raise in 2022 than what Biden has proposed was not unanimous, however. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association described the 2.7% pay raise proposal as a “market-value pay increase.”

“It is gratifying to hear that the Biden administration is returning to standard practice with its proposal of a 2.7% average pay increase across the civil service, which is on par with private-sector wage hikes and his proposed pay raise for the military,” said NARFE National President Ken Thomas. “With this raise, the administration is demonstrating respect for hard-working civil servants and the jobs they do, and we urge Congress to follow suit.”