U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai"i) introduced legislation in the Senate with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), to provide a pay increase for federal employees who lost over a billion dollars in salary and benefits due to sequestration and a three-year pay freeze from January 2011 to December 2013. The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act would provide a 3.3 percent pay raise to federal workers in calendar year 2015.
"Hawai"i's federal workers are dedicated public servants. They deliver our mail, care for our veterans, protect our environment, and help keep us safe," Senator Schatz said. "Our federal employees bore the brunt of the sequester, enduring furloughs and a three-year pay freeze. Our bill would give these working families a raise they deserve."
"The knowledge, expertise, skill, and commitment of our public sector workforce are some of America's greatest assets. No other nation can match our public workforce's professionalism and level of accomplishment. And yet, too often, public servants are disparaged and denigrated. Too often, public servants bear the brunt of deficit reduction," said Senator Cardin. "We need to strengthen and encourage our public workforce. In Maryland and across the nation, these public servants deserve recognition and thanks for their hard work and dedication."
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the federal civilian government was the only industry that experienced a decrease in earnings ($6.7 billion) in 2013. The gap between public and private sector compensation is currently 35 percent. More than a quarter of full-time permanent federal employees in Hawai"i (and one-third nationally) are eligible to retire, and attracting and retaining top talent through competitive pay is key to maintaining an efficient and effective government. The White House has proposed a one percent pay increase for next year.
The FAIR Act is supported by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), and the Federal-Postal Coalition (FPC).
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said, "After several years of pay freezes, unpaid furloughs and government shutdowns, it is time for federal employee pay to get back on track. We appreciate Senator Schatz and Senator Cardin introducing this bill to provide a fair pay raise for federal employees in 2015 and will work to garner support for it."
American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said, "Federal employees have seen their standard of living deteriorate in recent years due to a three-year pay freeze, unpaid furloughs, and higher retirement contributions for newer workers. This legislation by Sens. Schatz and Cardin would help federal employees recoup some of that lost income and ensure the government is able to recruit and retain the high caliber workers that taxpayers expect."
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Joseph Beaudoin said, "We appreciate Senators Schatz and Cardin's strong support for the federal workforce. Over the past four years, federal employees have contributed over $120 billion towards deficit reduction. It's time we thank them for their service and sacrifice, rather than continue to devalue it."
Federal Postal Coalition Chair Bruce Moyer said, "The Federal-Postal Coalition (FPC) -- comprised of 31 national organizations that collectively represent five million middle-class federal and postal workers and retirees -- applauds the introduction of legislation, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act of 2014 by Senator Schatz, to provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent pay raise next year. While private sector wages have risen 6.5 percent in the last four years, federal employees had their pay frozen for three years and only received a 1 percent raise this year. Three years of frozen salaries caused the public-private sector pay gap to exceed 35 percent, with federal employees lagging behind. Instituting a raise of 3.3 percent, 2.3 percent higher than that proposed by the President, will allow the federal government to compete for top talent in the workplace."