Kelley Urges Deficit Reduction Commission Not to Harm Federal Employees


11/18/2010:  Today, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley wrote to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, known as the deficit reduction commission, asking for a reconsideration of many recommendations in the Co-Chairs’ proposal that was recently circulated. These draft proposals recommend changes affecting the livelihood of federal employees and retirees, and threaten the stability of the federal workforce. 

As you will note from Kelley's attached letter, the Co-Chairs’ proposal recommends harmful initiatives that would require the federal workforce to carry an unfair burden in an effort to reduce the federal deficit.  These include:  

  • A three-year federal pay freeze;
  • A 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce;
  • Greater contributions to FEHBP by retirees;
  • Annuities based on “high 5” instead of “high 3”;
  • Greater contributions by beneficiaries to FERS pensions; and
  • A change in how COLAs are calculated, effectively lowering annuities.

It should be noted that these recommendations are in draft document form and obviously would need to be passed by Congress to become effective. Under an expedited procedure, if 14 of the 18 Commissioners agree with them and issue a final report, Congress would be required to take up the report in its entirety by December 1st. It is generally believed that this is unlikely to happen. However, NTEU is concerned that some of the proposals could be incorporated into legislative bills down the road; if not during the lame duck session of Congress, then possibly when the new Congress convenes in January. These draft proposals are available at the commission’s web site, “Co-Chairs' Proposals.” 

Be assured that NTEU will fight these extremely harmful proposals in whatever form they take. They would be devastating to the federal workforce, would harm our ability to meet our mission, and should be rejected.

Thank you to all dues paying members of NTEU, without whom it would not be possible to fight these proposals in Washington.