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Schatz, Cardin, Mikulski, Brown Introduce Bill To Give Federal Workers A Raise

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)‎, and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, a bill that would provide federal employees with a 5.3 percent pay increase in 2017. The bill is a response to federal employees having lost more than a billion dollars in wages due to sequestration and a three-year freeze on federal pay.


“Federal workers in Hawai‘i and across the country have seen their earnings decrease as a result of furloughs, sequestration, and a freeze on pay,” said Senator Schatz. “These are the dedicated public servants who do everything from delivering our mail to protecting our nation to maintaining our parks and taking care of our veterans. This legislation would help give these workers the raise they deserve and help the government recruit and retain a top-quality workforce.”


“Time after time, public servants in the federal workforce have been called upon to do more with less and they have been forced to contribute far more than their fair share of deficit reduction. We cannot attract and maintain highly qualified personnel by continuing to undervalue the men and women who keep our borders secure, our food safe, care for our veterans and the elderly, and search for cures to crippling diseases,” said Senator Cardin. “The FAIR Act provides fair pay for hard work being done in Maryland and nationwide on behalf of the American people.”   


“For too long, federal employees have been undervalued and underappreciated. Whenever deficit reduction comes up, their wages are the first to take a hit,” Senator Mikulski said. “Federal workers need a real pay increase, not just catch ups trying to make up for years of pay freezes and diet COLAs. The long-overdue pay increase in the FAIR Act is exactly what federal workers in Maryland and around our country need. I’m proud to fight on the front lines on behalf of federal employee pay, just as federal employees work on the front lines each and every day for the American people.”

“Federal employees have committed their careers to public service and giving back to their country. But for several years, their wages have been largely frozen,”
said Senator Brown. “All workers deserve fair compensation for a day’s work and it’s time to give federal employees a raise.”


According to the American Federation of Government Employees, federal employees have endured $182 billion in cuts to pay, benefits, and salaries. Additionally, in 2014 and 2015 wages were raised by just 1 percent, which is almost half as much as recommended by the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990. Meanwhile, private industry wages increased 10.6 percent on average over the last six years. Federal employees have sacrificed far more than their fair share and they deserve to be fairly compensated for the important work they do on behalf of our country.

“Federal employees paid more than their fair share to help dig us out of the Great Recession. Now that recovery is in full swing, it’s time to help employees make up some of that lost ground by providing a 5.3 percent catch-up adjustment. This adjustment will help employees catch up on their credit card bills, student loan debts, home repairs, and so many of the everyday costs facing today’s workers. We thank Senator Schatz for his leadership in advocating a much-needed boost for these hardworking families,” said J. David Cox, Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees.


“On behalf of the workers represented by IFPTE Local 121 and the Hawai‘i Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, we thank Senator Schatz for not only supporting this much needed pay raise for federal employees, but actually championing the issue by authoring the legislation calling for a 5.3 percent increase.  Because of the great recession, working class federal workers and our families here in Hawai‘i have had to experience very significant cuts to our compensation compared to inflation.  We have also endured furlough days, and even seen some lawmakers in Washington go after our pensions. We hope that this legislation sponsored by Senator Schatz signals a new day for federal workers.  It is refreshing and reassuring to know that Senator Schatz is there fighting for us," said Jamie Hiranaka, vice president of the Hawai‘i Federal Employees Metal Trades Council.


“Senator Schatz’s bill would give middle-class federal employees their first meaningful pay raise in years.  Federal workers are finding it harder and harder to keep up with rising costs while at the same time their pay has fallen steadily behind the private sector.  We applaud Senator Schatz for introducing this important piece of legislation and extend our appreciation for Senators Mikulski, Cardin, and Brown’s long-term efforts to strengthen the federal workforce.  We will work hard to see that Congress passes this pay fairness legislation,” said Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union.


The FAIR Act is supported by the National Treasury Employees Union, the American Federation of Government Employees, the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and the Federal-Postal Coalition, comprised of 31 national organizations representing 5 million federal and postal workers and retirees.

To read the FAIR Act, click here.


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