Coalition: Trump’s pay, pension cuts harm services and federal and postal workers

WASHINGTON—Proposed GOP Trump administration’s budget with its pay and pension cuts would harm the federal government, its services, federal and postal workers, and the government’s ability to attract new employees to succeed retirees, a wide coalition says.

The Federal-Postal Coalition, which includes 15 unions and other organizations, said Trump’s “proposals, together and individually, would undermine our government’s ability to recruit and retain an effective and well-qualified workforce to serve our nation’s needs by slashing workers’ take-home pay and eroding retiree income security.

And that’s important because federal and postal employees provide vital services to everyone, the letter notes.

Whether the Republican-run 115th Congress will listen is another matter. Solons brushed aside Trump’s domestic cuts in spending for fiscal 2017, which ends Sept. 30. Now they’re working on for FY2018 and that’s where Trump’s larger proposed cuts come in.

The president not only wants agencies to cut workers by attrition, buyouts and layoffs but he wants to force federal and postal workers to contribute 6 percent more of their pay towards their future pensions, but with no increases in pension payouts on the other end.  That’s a pay cut, the letter declares.

That’s the biggest harm to the workers, who collectively would face $149 billion in cuts over a decade from Trump’s plan, says the letter, authored by coalition chair Kori Blalock Keller, the Letter Carriers’ legislative director. It’s not the only one.

“The administration’s budget request would cripple U.S. Postal Service operations by threatening the frequency and quality of mail delivery, and would undermine non-defense, non-security civilian agencies that provide core services to the American public,” it adds.

Federal workers have “already contributed $182 billion towards deficit reduction since 2011” through a 3-year pay freeze, no paychecks during “sequestration” and prior increases in pension contributions, the letter notes.

“These middle-class workers give their all to this nation every day when they go to work, and were the first to contribute when the nation was facing severe economic challenges. They should not be forced to sacrifice even more,” the coalition’s letter declares.

Trump’s budget “is yet another attack on non-political civil servants,” says Treasury Employees President Tony Reardon. His union was among the letter’s signers.

The coalition picked up backing from 108 representatives, all of them Democrats, led by Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and including union members Mark Pocan, D-Wis., a Painter, and David Norcross, D-N.J., an Electrical Worker. The lawmakers signed a separate letter to House leaders of both parties, opposing Trump’s budget plans.

Source: PAI