New Congress Brings New Federal Worker-Bashing Bills

WASHINGTON (PAI)—The opening of the GOP-run 114th Congress brought another series of bills bashing federal workers. In the past, federal workers have had their pay frozen for three years, lost two-weeks-plus of wages to GOP-enacted “furloughs” due to sequestration, and their pensions contributions triple, with no promised benefit increases.

 

The latest variations include representatives Ken Calvert, R-Calif., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyom. and Nic Mylvaney, R-S.C. supporting bills that involve cutting hundreds of thousands of the 2.12 million federal workers, while not cutting the remaining employee’s workloads. Calvert wants to let go of 120,000 Defense Department civilians while outsourcing their work to contractors. Lummis and Mulvaney want to hire only one replacement employee for every three federal workers who leave or retire, eliminating 200,000 jobs.

 

According to J. David Cox, a union member of the American Federation of Government Employees, federal worker tasks range from stopping terrorist plots to ensuring food is safe and edible to preventing airplanes from crashing into each other. In the Defense Department, “Civilian employees are actually in short supply and DOD has to use more expensive military personnel to perform routine functions.  It doesn’t make any sense to impose even more cuts,” he adds.

 

Representative Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Senator Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., and other democrats are building coalitions behind the union leaders proposals. Connolly’s proposed raise is “a first step in reassuring our nation’s commitment to public service, while addressing the alarming rate of attrition among federal employees. Attrition in fiscal 2013 increased 34 percent since fiscal 2009, a loss of 585,000 full-time employees in five years, or more than a quarter of the workforce.  Over the last five years, federal wages lagged far behind the private sector and failed to keep up with the rate of inflation.” Cox and Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, support the 2% pay raise.

 

Representative Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Connolly, and union leaders also sponsor a bill on paid maternity leave.