Senate Committee Approves One Percent Pay Boost for Defense Civilian Employees
The Senate Thursday approved a measure to boost defense civilian pay by one percent in 2014, potentially breaking the current three-year freeze. The increase was included in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations Act, which is why it only impacts those working at DoD.
Despite the committee’s approval, the measure must now receive a vote before the full Senate to advance. If it passes the full body, it awaits a serious challenge in conference committee where Senators and House Representatives will hash out the differences between their respective versions of the bill. In the House version no federal pay increase was included. Based upon prevailing attitudes of House leaders, they will fight hard to keep it that way.
“This was a necessary first step in the process to end the federal pay freeze,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “We need NFFE-IAM members to make a lot of noise about this issue in the coming weeks. The House is going to do everything they can to force another year of frozen pay. Federal workers can’t take yet another year that.”
The latest federal pay debate comes at one of the lowest periods for the federal workforce in recent memory. A three-year pay freeze, pension cuts, wide-spread furloughs, and deteriorating federal budgets have ravaged employee savings and morale. With nine more years of sequestration cuts and eight years of strict budget caps remaining, the pain is only expected to increase with time. With such a bleak horizon going forward, increasing federal pay would be an important way to maintain key talent and show workers that all of their sacrifice is appreciated.
“Federal workers have shown unbelievable poise in the face of all the challenges we have seen in recent years,” said NFFE National President Dougan. “They have sacrificed left and right without asking for anything in return. They have earned a fair pay increase. We call on Congress to do the right thing for these dedicated Americans and give them the pay raise they deserve.”