7/30/08: With the August recess break nearly upon us, NTEU has had great success in including the 3.9 percent pay raise in major legislative vehicles moving forward in both Houses of Congress. This is one of the union's top legislative priorities for the year.
The military and civilian pay increase has historically been determined by using the Employment Cost Index (ECI), currently at 3.4 percent, plus an additional one-half percent. The 3.9 percent amount is in keeping with this precedent and moves a step forward to closing the unjust pay gaps both sectors face with comparable jobs in the private sector.
Early on, NTEU was successful in obtaining pay parity language in the House Budget Resolution, H. Con Res. 312, that called for equal raises for both federal employees and military personnel who work side-by-side in defending our homeland and keeping government services and systems running. After the measure passed, NTEU fought and won the inclusion of a 3.9 percent figure in the House and Senate Department of Defense Authorization bills, the measures Congress usually addresses first.
On June 25, 2008, H.R. 5658, the DOD Authorization Act passed the House of Representatives with NTEU's recommendation included. On May 12, the Senate version, S. 3002, was reported and placed on the Senate calendar with the 3.9 percent pay raise figure also intact. The DOD appropriations subcommittees who also have a stake in this, have not yet reported their bills, however, NTEU has contacted all key members of these subcommittees to recommend this pay raise.
On the civilian worker front, NTEU also succeeded in including the 3.9 percent raise in the bills that set the government-wide pay raise, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for FY 2009. The House Appropriations Committee acted on its bill, (thus far unnumbered) on June 25, 2009. The Senate version, S. 3260, was reported on July 10, 2008.
While indications are that there is a good chance Congress may not finish its work on time before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, and that a continuing resolution may fund our federal agencies into next year, NTEU remains committed to fighting for this pay raise. In the event that legislation is not enacted in time for the January 1 annual raise, NTEU will: (1) continue to push for the 2009 pay raise at the 3.9 percent level; and, (2) push for retroactivity back to January 1, 2009. This has happened in the past, and NTEU will remind Congress of the precedent.