A Letter From the Desk of the Legislative Director: What the Next Congress has in Store for Federal Employees


The 2010 elections are over, and as you probably have heard, there are major changes in the makeup of Congress. The Republican Party has taken control of the House of Representatives, and GOP leadership has declared that cutting federal workers pay and benefits is a top priority. They are committed to gutting federal pay and benefits despite the fact that federal employees make an average of 24% less than private sector employees doing the same jobs.

In the first weeks of the new Congress starting in January, we are expecting votes on freezing or reducing federal pay across the board, cutting the size of the federal workforce, reducing the value of federal retiree annuities, forcing two-week temporary layoffs of federal employees (also called furloughs), and eliminating official time for federal union representational duties. These are the biggest threats to the livelihood of federal workers we have seen in decades, and because the federal budget deficit is such a serious concern, these draconian cuts have a realistic possibility of passing.

In the coming weeks, NFFE National will distribute weekly issue spotlights highlighting some of the cut-backs proposed by the new majority in Congress. If we are to effectively fight back against these baseless attacks, it is essential to be prepared. We must get organized to take these threats on. If we don’t have legislative engagement at the Local level, we will not be able to resist these harmful changes. That means we need legislative committees at every Local to meet with lawmakers, to keep members of the union informed about the issues, and to get ready to act when the time comes to flood Congress with calls and letters.

If you do not have a legislative committee at your local yet, please establish one in the very near future. Votes to cut your pay and benefits are coming just after the New Year. We need everyone involved to win these fights. We can’t wait another day to begin preparing.

For more information on what your Local can do to get organized and fight back, contact me via phone at (202) 216-4451, or email, rerwin@nffe.org.

In Solidarity,

Randy Erwin