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House Approves Much-Needed Raise for Federal Workers

Photo Credit: Getty / Mark Makela
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Worth the Fight Workers' Rights

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a 2.6-percent salary increase for civilian federal workers. This is a step in the right direction, not only to show support for America’s dedicated and hardworking federal employees, but to counteract the effects of a hiring freeze and government shutdowns that have left many workers demoralized.

The bill, called the “Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019,” was approved 259-161, with bipartisan support. The vote was held just days after the end of the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.

AFSCME, the union for thousands of federal government employees, endorses this important legislation. A salary increase for federal workers is necessary because when contrasted position by position, federal workers’ wages lag below that of employees in the private sector. Since 2010, and as a direct result of congressional legislation that reduced pay and benefits, federal employees have had their compensation cut by more than $180 billion over 10 years, AFSCME said in a letter to House members.

“To recruit, hire, and retain a qualified capable federal government workforce, America must pay competitive salaries,” AFSCME wrote. “This is vital to continue attracting the best and brightest to our public service. Unfortunately, during the last two years, the federal government's hiring freeze and shutdowns have lowered morale, forced many federal employees to cover other employees' job responsibilities, and reduced the federal government's effectiveness.”

AFSCME urges the Senate and President Donald Trump to support this bill.

Also Wednesday, worker-friendly members of Congress introduced legislation aimed at making sure women get paid equitably. The Paycheck Fairness Act would give women the tools to challenge pay discrimination and hold employers to account if women are unfairly denied equal pay for equal work.