Obama Budget Proposal Shows Disrespect, Ingratitude to Federal Employees:
2014 budget marks a shameful abandonment of his campaign promise to protect the middle class and needy from tax increases or harmful benefit cuts. The budget includes proposals that would cut federal retirement benefits, cut federal employee health benefits, cut Social Security benefits, and cut federal jobs. The budget also proposes to end the three year pay freeze with a 1% adjustment, an amount so low that it banks $18 billion in savings over ten years for the government to spend elsewhere. The administration’s budget hits federal retirement benefits in three ways: denying pay adjustments, so the salaries on which retirement benefits are based are lower, increasing by 1.2% the amount of salary that employees hired before 2013 would pay for their benefit, and reducing the annual cost-of-living increase in Social Security and annuities by using an inferior measure of inflation known as chained CPI (Consumer Price Index). The 1.2% increase, to be phased in over three years beginning in 2014, would bring up the contributions of Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees from 0.8% to 2% and increase the contributions of Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees from 7% to 8.2%.
Using chained CPI for indexing income tax brackets would mean raising taxes 14.5% for those earning between $10,000 and $20,000 a year. Sixty-nine percent of the tax increases resulting from chained CPI-indexing would come from households earning less than $100,000. The average Social Security recipient, who at age 65 receives just $15,000 per year, will suffer cuts of $650 a year by age 75 and $1,130 a year by the time she or he turns 85. “Instead of holding to its promise to protect the middle class and the working poor, the administration seems determined to contribute to a worsening of living standards for federal workers, disabled veterans, and the elderly,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Adding FEHBP cuts to the pay freeze, furloughs, and retirement and Social Security cuts just defies comprehension.
INCREASES GOING TO: Commerce, Education, Energy, HHS, JUD, Interior, Justice, Labor, National Science Foundation, SSA, Transportation, VA, FDA,
Decreases hitting: Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury, State, Corps of Engineers, BRAC, Medicare, Expand preschool, Subsidies to Farms, Force Millionaires to pay 30% minimum rate, close loopholes on hedge fund managers, eliminate tax breaks for oil and gas companies, Earned income tax Credit , Child tax credit, close loopholes in allowing corporations shifting off shore profits, increase premiums on high earners for Medicare B and D, End “pay for delay” deals on drug companies, increase minimum wage to $9.00.
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, for example, said the cuts are too “modest” to justify nearly $700 billion in new taxes on the wealthy. Ryan of Wisconsin dismissed Obama’s offer to use chained CPI, which is actually one of Ryan & Co.’s key priorities, to reduce benefits for retirees. “
The proposals would shift costs for the program onto federal employees to the tune of $8.4 billion over 10 years.
85% of federal employees live and work outside of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
By 2012, the ratio of residents to federal workers had increased to 148.
Employment levels for 2014 are expected to go up 0.3%. Most of the growth is in the VA. Employment increases also are expected at the Justice Department and Homeland Security, Patent and Trade Office, FDA, and the IRS. Workforce decreases are expected at USDA, EPA, and NASA.
In FY 2009, there were 512,240 veterans in the federal government – 26% of the workforce. By the end of FY 2012, the number of veterans had grown to 611,784, or 30% of the federal workforce.
More than half (55%) of federal workers work in the nine highest-paying occupation groups as judges, engineers, scientists, nuclear plant inspectors, etc., compared to about a third (33%) of private sector workers.
While 45% of private sector workers work in the seven lowest-paying occupation groups, about 26% of federal workers.
· About 22% of federal workers have a master’s degree, professional degree, or doctorate versus only 10% in the private sector. Only 19% of federal employees have not attended college, compared to 40% of workers in the private sector. Federal workers tend to have demographic characteristics associated with higher pay in the private sector. 21% of federal workers are 55 or older – up from 17 percent 10 years ago and significantly more than the 16 percent in the private sector.
· The number of federal retirements is on a steady increase, rising from 95,425 in 2009 to 96,133 in 2010 to 98,731 in 2011 and 112,817 in 2012. Increases in retirement are expected to continue. Nearly 22% of the over 687,000 respondents to the 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey expressed an intent to retire during the next five years.
AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.’s recent intervention led to the lifting of the total hiring freeze at the Anniston Army Depot and an assurance that work won’t be contracted out. Vollrath said the work won’t be outsourced and the depot will be able to hire employees as needed through either term or temporary hiring authority.
Knife industry lobbyists appear to have played a key role in getting the Transportation Security Administration to allow knives back on commercial aircraft for the first time since 9/11. TSA failed to consult with the union that represents 45,000 Transportation Security Officers. In a press release issued after the decision was made, the American Knife & Tool Institute – a lobbying group run by knife manufacturers – touted itself as being “instrumental” in TSA’s decision to remove small knives from its list of prohibited items.
AFGE to Hold Midwest Training Conference in South Dakota:
· A variety of training programs for union leaders such as Collective Bargaining, Representation, EEO, Financial Officers, and New Leaders.
· New advanced-level courses for experienced labor leaders and activists.
This Week’s Member Benefit: AFGE Rewards is a new member benefit from AFGE that helps you save while you shop. This powerful rewards program is free to join, free to use, and gives you online shopping access and great savings opportunities at over 600 stores like Target, Macy’s, and Home Depot. As a member you’ll earn up to 3% cash back on purchases to help you pay for expenses now. Or, to help you save for the future, this unique problem gives you the option to increase your rewards by redeeming them as U.S. Savings Bonds!
HOW ABOUT THAT APOLIGY TOUR TO MEXICO??
Sources—the American federation of government employees