NTEU’s persistent efforts to provide federal employees with a much-deserved higher pay raise paid off on September 30 when the president signed into law H.R. 2638, a $600 billion continuing resolution package that included an average 3.9 percent federal pay raise for 2009. This NTEU-sought pay raise is a full percentage higher than the president’s original budget request of 2.9 percent earlier this year.
The Senate passed the continuing resolution bill on September 28 after the House approved it on September 24. It was necessary to pass a “continuing resolution” because Congress had not passed any of the twelve annual appropriations that fund government programs, after the president threatened to veto any bill that spent more than he had recommended.
This pay raise is effective January 1, 2009. In years past, when a delayed pay raise was approved by Congress in stages, additional legislation was required to make it retroactive to the first full pay period in January. That both delayed receipt of the money by federal employees, and forced agencies to reprogram their computers to reflect the changing payroll numbers.
“When you consider all of the important contributions federal employees make each day to the country, this is clearly the right thing to do,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “A fair pay raise for federal workers will ensure agencies have the high-quality employees the public expects and needs, especially in these challenging times.”
The sweeping stopgap measure will fund most government agencies at fiscal 2008 levels through March 6. Exceptions include the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, which are on track to receive significantly higher funding levels than in fiscal 2008.
NTEU and its members have pushed aggressively all year to secure the higher figure. Since the president’s budget was released in February, NTEU led the fight for a higher pay raise and military-civilian pay parity, emphasizing the importance of recognizing federal employees for their dedication and hard work. The union thanks House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), for his leadership on this issue.
Other positive provisions NTEU secured include:
- $67.9 million for Internal Revenue Service taxpayer services to meet requirements in the 2008 Economic Stimulus Act.
- $150 million in additional funding for the Food and Drug Administration.
- Authority for the Department of Energy to hire employees to implement a new technology program.
- An increase in staffing for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and $200 million in funding for the NTEU-won enhanced law enforcement officer retirement benefit. In addition, DHS would be prohibited from implementing a new anti-employee personnel system which would include a pay-for-performance component.
NTEU’s ability to win higher compensation, better benefits and increased workplace protections remains contingent upon its strong and active membership. Thanks for your continued support.