What’s the Status of the 2019 Pay Raise?

NTEU is setting the record straight about where the 2019 pay raise stands after media reports called a 1.9 percent increase a done deal.

In reality, Congress will not finalize its plans on whether to block the president’s planned pay freeze, or set a pay raise amount, until both chambers return after the midterms.

Here is background: Earlier this year, the president proposed a pay freeze for 2019, which he recently formalized to Congress as required by law. The Senate passed bipartisan NTEU-supported language to provide a 1.9 percent pay raise as part of a funding package. The House did not include the same provisions in its version of the funding legislation.

Recent negotiations between the House and Senate on the funding measure could have included pay raise language but, as expected, the issues were not finalized before the House recessed. There will be no formal action on any funding measures—or a pay raise for federal employees—until later this year. Congress and the administration must still tackle remaining funding issues including a continuing resolution for some agencies that expires Dec. 7.

NTEU continues fighting for a pay raise next year. While the union supports the Senate-backed 1.9 percent increase, NTEU continues to press for a higher amount in light of the 2.6 percent raise military personnel is slated to receive. 

2018 Election Talking Points

Federal workers provide critical services to the American public. We keep America safe. We protect our environment. We conduct life-saving research. We are patriots who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The federal government should set an example for the rest of the country by being a model employer. It should provide fair pay and ensure a secure retirement. It should be free of discrimination of any kind. It should strive to be the employer of choice for the most talented employees.

Public Service Deserves Public Respect -  help protect our Union Rights

Federal workers provide critical services to the American public.  We keep America safe.  We protect our environment.  We conduct life-saving research.  We are patriots who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  The federal government should set an example for the rest of the country by being a model employer.  It should provide fair pay and ensure a secure retirement.  It should be free of discrimination of any kind.  It should strive to be the employer of choice for the most talented employees.

Federal Workers’ Collective Bargaining Rights and Union Rights

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 codified the right of federal employees to form labor unions and engage in collective bargaining.

Executive Orders have been signed that would take away those rights entirely from employees at certain agencies and make it more difficult to organize and effectively represent employees throughout the federal workforce.

Under current law, federal employees voluntarily decide whether or not to join a union.

President Trump’s executive orders are a direct attack on the legally-guaranteed rights and freedoms of our federal workers to negotiate for a fair and safe workplace.

The three executive orders issued by President Trump will weaken the federal government, and render agencies inefficient and ineffective as employees will have virtually no voice in their workplaces.

Federal employees will no longer have a vehicle to discuss problems, or to disclose waste, nepotism, harassment, fraud, and abuse, and will lose more informal, lower-level, faster, and cheaper processes to address workplace issues with agencies.

These orders are sneakily designed to replace the collective bargaining process with a take-it-or-leave-it structure (a Labor Relations Group (LRG)- at the Office of Personnel Management- composed solely of agency management officials--and no labor organizations) to be imposed by agencies, eliminating the ability of unions to effectively represent employees at their agencies, and threaten the non-partisan civil service by forcing employees to be beholden to individual managers and leaders. 

Federal employee due process and collective bargaining rights ensure safe, transparent and fair agency workplaces that prevent a politicized civil service, and safeguard whistleblower protections.

Candidates should strongly oppose these executive orders and stand with America’s public servants, and their families, and support and defend collective bargaining rights at federal agencies.

Federal Employee Pay

In order to recruit and retain the talented workforce our federal government needs, we must provide meaningful pay increases to federal workers.

Improving Pay: Private-sector wages have increased 10.4 percent on average over the last five years, compared to an overall increase of 6.9 percent for federal workers in this same time period.

A healthier national job market and current private-sector pay trends—on average a 3 percent pay adjustment for professionals in 2018—require agencies to provide adequate, comparable pay raises.

We have already contributed approximately $200 billion in deficit reduction through pay freezes and furlough days, below-market pay adjustments, and retirement contribution increases.

Preserving Employee Benefits

All employees deserve a secure retirement.

As federal employees we earn modest retirement benefits (approximately $1,100 per month), but those benefits have been under attack.  Workers’ pension contributions have been increased dramatically, and proposals have been floated that would greatly diminish the value of, or even eliminate, the defined benefit portion of those benefits. 

In recent years, Congress has used the federal retirement program to help close the deficit, by increasing required FERS retirement contributions for all new hires.

Adequate Federal Agency Funding

Agencies need sufficient and full-year funding for Fiscal Year 2019 to meet their missions for the public.

Hiring freezes and additional proposals to reduce the workforce are diminishing the ability of agencies to perform their basic functions, and harm the public who rely on agency programs and services.

Sequestration and severe austerity in federal agency funding has made it more and more difficult for federal employees to accomplish the critical missions of their agencies. 

Financial regulators are hamstrung in their efforts to protect consumers.  Inadequate border security staffing leads to long delays for travelers and commerce coming into the country.  Taxpayers can’t get answers to their basic tax questions and billions of dollars in revenue is going uncollected.

Candidates must strongly support providing the federal resources necessary to perform the work the American people expect and deserve. 

National Voter Registration Day Breaks Record

More than 800,000 people registered to vote this year as part of National Voter Registration Day, breaking the previous record set during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

The campaign on Sept. 25 had a goal of registering 300,000 voters.

Americans are realizing that midterms do matter, and if you’re a federal employee, they really matter. Every federal employee has a direct personal stake in these midterm elections—your paycheck, job security, retirement and healthcare are all decided by Congress. By being informed voters, we have the power to send federal employee supporters to Washington in January.

Not yet registered to vote? It’s not too late—register today.

Already registered? Check out our list of endorsed candidates in states and congressional districts nationwide. These are the men and woman who value federal employees and will fight for the issues that matter to you. HATCH ACT WARNING.

Also, be sure to watch for our 2018 election section in the next issue of the NTEU Bulletin, coming to your mailbox this month.