Unions Furious at Federal Pay Freeze Extention

Union leaders are displeased that President Obama has decided to extend a two-year pay freeze for federal employees until at least next spring because Congress has failed to agree on a budget for the next fiscal year. Union leaders had hoped the president would end the freeze by imposing a 0.5% raise.

"The well is dry, Mr. President," said J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in a response to the president's action. "Federal employees cannot afford another four months or even another day of frozen wages."

The upcoming presidential election makes it unlikely that Congress will pass a spending plan is before the start of fiscal 2013 on Oct. 1. With no budget, the freeze will remain in place until at least April. That is when a short-term spending deal that congressional leaders reached before their August recess to fund the government for six months runs out.

"Civilian federal employees have already made significant sacrifices as a result of a two-year pay freeze," the president wrote in a letter to House and Senate leaders. "As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, however, we must maintain efforts to keep our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. This is an effort that continues to require tough choices and each of us to do our fair share."

Earlier this year, the president proposed ending the pay freeze with a 0.5% raise that would take effect Jan. 1, 2013. But a budget resolution sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate, calls for maintaining the freeze through 2015.

Trey Thoelcke

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