Letter to the President on the Administration’s Upcoming Recommendations to the “Supercommittee”


9/15/11:  Today  NTEU today joined a broad coalition of federal employee, management and related organizations in sending this letter calling for President Obama to reject proposals that will harm federal employees in his submissions to the Super Committee.

“Federal employees have already made a $60 billion sacrifice in the form of a pay freeze; federal agencies have already cut back significantly on hiring and are planning furloughs; and now we are seeing proposals that disproportionately target federal retirement benefits,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “We call on the president to reject these damaging proposals.”

The president is scheduled to submit proposals to the Super Committee, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, on Sept. 19.

“We appreciate the administration’s call for ‘some sacrifice from all of us;’ however, not only are federal employees disproportionately harmed by staffing reductions caused by drastically declining agency budgets, they have already done their share by experiencing compensation cuts as well,” the coalition wrote in a Sept. 15 letter to President Obama.

The coalition highlights the vulnerability of federal employees in the upcoming negotiations. Because the administration’s freeze of federal pay occurred in late 2009, long before the larger budget negotiations, federal employees are at greater risk of facing more attacks on their compensation. Unfortunately, many policymakers are forgetting about the federal employee’s pay freeze, which will save an estimated $2 billion by the end of FY2011 and more than $60 billion over the next 10 years.

In addition to attacks on compensation, the coalition notes that federal employees and retirees could face proposals that would reduce benefits for future retirees by a stunning 41 percent, even though federal retirement plans already lag behind private sector plans. Additionally, federal employees and retirees have already endured large health insurance premium increases.

“We oppose the inclusion of these and other initiatives that would require federal civil servants and retirees to shoulder cuts to reduce the deficit that are not shared by other Americans with similar incomes,” the coalition writes.