AFL-CIO Asserts Federal Workers Have Shouldered Enough Sacrifice


September 2012


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They do jobs of vital importance for the American people, but the nation’s 2.6 million federal civilian workers are being “substantially” underpaid in the name of deficit reduction, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said in a recent statement.


The SIU is an AFL-CIO affiliate, and SIU President Michael Sacco is the longest-serving current member on the federation’s executive council.


Referring to the fact that federal workers earn an average of 24 percent less than their private-sector counterparts, the council said federal employees are simply forced to sacrifice too much. Federal workers are the ones who administer Social Security and Medicare benefits, enforce wage and safety standards and provide support to the military, among many other duties.


“Federal employees are substantially underpaid for this important work,” the council said in a statement that was released in early August, adding the problem doesn’t just apply to wages. “Their health insurance is (also) less generous than that provided by large firms in the private sector.”


While pressure to reduce the deficit has resulted in an unprecedented two-year pay freeze for federal workers, the council said many of the most successful private-sector workers have not been asked to make any sacrifices of their own.


“It is often said there must be ‘shared sacrifice’ to reduce the deficit, but it hardly qualifies as ‘shared sacrifice’ when nobody else shares in the pain,” the council said. “Unlike federal employees, millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street firms and the 1 percent have not been asked to pitch in one dime.”


Sacrifices by federal employees, on the other hand, have already produced $60 billion in projected budget savings over the next 10 years. A planned 2013 pay adjustment could raise that number to more than $100 billion.


That’s particularly alarming, the council said, when it comes to what federal contractors are allowed to earn.



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