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Tell Your Story: How Will the Federal Pay Freeze Affect You?

How would a federal pay freeze affect you, your family, and your community?  Tell us your story.  Submit your blog post or send us your comments on the proposed federal pay freeze. 

AFGE members speak out about their experience as federal employees and how Americans would be affected by a pay freeze and cuts in services.


I am an AFGE member and I work at the Corpus Christi Army Depot in direct support of the troops with boots on the ground. Federal employees like myself and the 4200 others at CCAD will do whatever it take to support our troops because we are a family and we take care of our own with pride and unwavering selflessness.
-Frank Johnson
Corpus Christi, TX
DoD
AFGE Local 2142

 

Contract employees where I work can only do what’s in their contract. They will not do what’s right for our patients if it’s not in their job description/contract. On the same token often their contractors change and they work in the same position without benefits of being an employee such as healthcare for themselves and their families, no leave, and the contractors are making at least 3x more than what their employees are paid. Hence the business owners are getting rich while their employees suffer. We all suffer!!!!!!!!!!
-Shachema N. Ricks
Marlton, NJ
USAF
AFGE Local 1778

 

The corporate knowledge of running the government services stays with the federal employee long after a politician is voted out of power. Private companies couldn’t care less about the taxpayer. They care only about the bottom line — profit. Your grandmother and children rely on us to be interested and protect them in difficult times.
-William S Holland
Windsor Mill, MD
SSA
AFGE Local 1923

 

I am a career SSA employee, with 36 years of service. Fewer employees means a continuation of the degradation of public service that began years ago, an erosion of quality and performance and greater costs to the Social Security trust funds and general revenues. We perform fewer reviews on Disability cases, so people who recover and go to work continue to receive benefits. We perform fewer reviews on SSI recipients, so individuals whose circumstances change continue to receive payments in the wrong amount. Incorrect payments increase and the ability to recoup them decreases. We no longer have the time to explain the myriad of options available to people who need to carefully plan their retirement in an increasingly complex financial world. Our elected representative must realize that the impact will be borne by their constituents!
-Jed Natkin
Somers, NY
SSA
AFGE Local 3369

20 Responses

  1. Two things bother me about the federal pay freeze proposal. First, is the insult to federal workers and the jobs we do. We are face of the government for many people. We find their checks, take their claims, issue their cards. We can make a difficult situation just a bit easier and we take pride in doing so. Second, many federal workers, myself included, are providing the primary or sole support to their families. My husband lost his job in April and my job has kept our family afloat. We would be devastated without my medical insurance because my husband’s COBRA continuation would have been well over $400 per month. I am a GS-8, a Service Rep with SSA. I don’t make much, but that small increase offset the constant increase in medical premiums. No pay raise means my check will go down and that will cost my family a tank of gas, a bag of groceries, a “fix” around the house. I understand tightening our belt in these times, but what does the President suggest we do when our “belt” has no more loops left in it? That’s a fine idea, Mr. Grinch, I mean Mr. President. Merry Christmas.

  2. This pay freeze not only affects myslef and my family but the employees as well especially those who put their lives on the line every in federal law enforcement positions. This is more like a pay decrease due to the rise in medical costs. This is a slap in the face for all of the hard work that us as federal employees put out every day and something needs to be done about this.

    In Unity!
    B. Estrella
    AFGE Local 1242
    1st Vice President B.O.P

  3. I think we should be more cooperative and think about helping our country. I’m more than willing to pass on annual increases as long as eveyone from the president on down, including active duty military, and all federal programs also get no annual COLA increases.
    We ALL need to pitch in, not just rank and file federal employees.

  4. I am a US Army Veteran that has been working with the Federal Government in one way or the other for the past 25 years. Freezing the pay for Federal Employees is hurting the employee and our economy. With the rising cost of gasoline, natural gas for heating our homes, property taxes, and even the grocery bill, this freeze will leave Federal Employees to seriously budget to not spend any money. So what the government thinks they are saving is causing our economy to lose.

    This should not be voted on by Congress or the Senate, this should be an American Citizen vote. I’m sure there are thousands of Americans out there that would have very good ideas on how to help our Federal Government save money. Why not set up a website that Americans can submit their ideas and give Congress and the Senate an idea of what the American people want.

    Listen to the American People, we are the ones living in the Middle Class world and can give our Federal Government a realistic insight to what is going on in our economy.

  5. now to the way I seeit; to increase new jobs in are tough economy is to start to fix streets, make bike paths,recycling on a grand scale the waste I see daily is appalling; the amount of good paying jobs that would be needed to do this nation wide, unemployment would drop to zero so do use a favor and sit down look at the problem and fix it like a company would I am tierd of D’s blaming R’s when its use you work for not your party you be long to.To many games for to long now go to work for ME and America

  6. Knowing federal employees won’t get a pay raise, limits them from spending during holidays and throughout the year. They will also be reluctant to use charge cards, not good for the economy and banks! Banks are going broke, no interest income, because a huge population of government employees are making less money than the ones out in the private sectors. But spending money on bankruptcies really hurts the government, especially when it comes to major buisnesses and banks. Think about it that way, there is no more balance, the governments also get less taxes, when consumers cannot spend!!! Raise the pay for those committed government employees, it will pay off later !!!

  7. I am a worker with the Department of Veterans Affairs. I am relocating my family to an area with a lower cost of living, where we will still struggle for some time to make ends meet. I have just one question, why is it that those we have elected to represent our interests, seem to continually make decisions that are contrary to the interests of us, the constituents, especially when it comes to finances, while they continue to collect high salaries for the remainder of their lives? The wage freeze quite obviously does not effect any elected officials, does anyone else see a problem with this?

  8. I’m struggling as it is and if I receive a pay freeze with health insurance, gas, food, property insurance, and numerous other expenses increasing it is unfair for me as a federal employee pay for the realestate, financial bubble and the two wars debt. I know that everyone will have to make some kind of sacrafice to help the country get back on track. I just think it should be everyone’s responsibility and problem to fix. The politicians that were in office when the wars were started should take a 15% cut in pay. The rest should take a 10% cut. Every working person making under $49, 999 should have to give an extra 1% in taxes across the board (social security, medicare, payroll, etc). Those that make between $50, 000 and $99,999 an extra 2%, $100,000 to$249,999 an extra 5%, and anything above should be 8% higer then the current rates.

  9. With my insurance cost going up, my husband’s insurance going up – it is less money for us out of pocket – which in turns means we are tighting our belts next year with less spending on non-essential needs, i.e. less eating out, less spending on clothes, our vacation plan is now gone. Its not like I can just go and switch health benefits, I went through cancer this year and am still paying off those bills even with the insurance I have. In addition, I now have more doctor appointments each year due to follow up care that I need. I guess it is more important to let the rich have more money while the middle class/federal workers get less.

  10. My insurance recently went up 65 dollars every two weeks. But now the gov. wants to give me less to help with the cost. Last year they went up 40 dollars. That is 210 dollars a month in two years. That alone is more than my last two raises. I am 61 years old and they want to cut my future social security benefits even though I paid my benefits in good faith. They want to reduce my benefit in retirement by basing it on the high five. All this and they allow corporations to hide profits offshore even though those profits were made allowing companies like google to pay an effective 1 percent income tax. They want make so I can live on the street in my retirement even though they are keeping tax cuts for rich americans. Even while they allow so called US companies to ship more jobs overseas. Even though they willing to bail US out companies for trillions and let them pay individuals millions of dollars. What are the banks going to do when thousands more federal workers homes come up for foreclosure. Who will bail them out then. We will have to lower our contribution to our Thrift plans. What will that do to the stock market. I take home about 65 percent of my pay check and everything I but is taxed again. If I am lucky enough to earn interest at a half a percent a year they take 20 percent of that and when I spend the interest they tax that. I bought a used car a while back. I paid over 2000 dollars in tax. And the guy that had it before me paid at least 3 thousand. If I sell it again the next guy will 1500. Eventually the taxes will add up to 100 percent of the vehicle.

  11. My wife and I are nearing retirement, so the freeze will obviously affect our high-three calculation.

    But we’ll manage. I’m more worried about the support staff: GS-6’s and under who are already struggling on their meager federal pay. I wrote about this in FedSmith a while back (http://www.fedsmith.com/article/2395/underpaid-federal-support-staff.html) and got quite a few comments, including a lot from people who bought the overpaid-fed myth. This is another right-wing fairy tale that we need to refute with the plain truth.

    It was hard to live on a GS-6 salary last year and it will be no easier this year.

    Congress should do the right thing and pass a fair raise for feds– it will help the struggling admin assistants and it will put some demand back into the economy at a time when we desperately need it.

  12. I am a VAMC nurse. I work very hard and take good care of our veterans. My husband has been unemployed for 1 1/2 years with no prospects of a good job in our area. A pay freeze would be a hardship, as it would for any other American in the same circumstances, not just for government employees.

  13. I am an employee for the VA. I have been struggling financially for the past couple of years. I have gone through a Counseling Money Management company that is assisting me in my debt. The reason I got to where I am is because I had to charge groceries when the gasoline got so expensive a couple of years ago…which of course is back to being expensive. Not receiving cost of living raises is going to place me either in bankruptcy or losing my house. I am a single mother with an elderly parent, teen, and grandkids living at home with me. What will become of them?

  14. I am a AFGE member, I work at the southern arizona va health care system about two and a half years I am in nursing taking care of our fellow veterans. Im very disappointed in the presidents choice to freeze federal workers pay. It is not write to attack the hard working people of this country and take away the extra income that would help people and there families, while the people of congress and washington get richer. I don’t see their pay getting frozen or loosing income.

  15. I would like to state that this pay freeze is absolute nonsense. I am a federal employee that works at a VA facility. I have worked at this facility for a few years supplying top-level care to our vets. I have been working part-time for three years and was in line with a number of my fellow employees for a promotion that was earned to full-time. What happened was there were open positions for full-time when prior f.t. employees either left or retired. What the federal government did was instead of filling those positions and granting all of us hard workers our rightful positions, they chose to bring in part-time temporary employees.

    We were told this would alleviate overtime from employees already at a full-time state that earn top dollar after being employed from 15-30 plus years. We were told these part-time temporary employees would receive absolutely no over time it would only be available to part-time permanent employees.

    They joke was on us who believed what management said.

    Our AFGE union president was notified by management to come in at a sit down on our behalf because permanent employees are a bargaining unit. To make a long story short before those temps were hired they were suppose to open up the full-time position for us federal part-time workers. Our union president to my knowledge never showed up for this meeting and management went ahead and instituted what they wanted to do. Now these part-time temps are getting the overtime hours that are rightly supposed to go to the bargaining unit and now this pay freeze and also the hiring freeze has left an unpleasant taste in our mouths.

    Respectfully a very angry employee at V.A. Lyons NJ!!!!

  16. I work for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as a Schedule A employee (which means I have a disability; multiple health problems). I’m a GS/6, and hardly make much income as it is. Not only will this freeze drastically affect my pay, but also my ability to go to the doctor which are necessary for my health; because I won’t be able to afford the co-pay and deductables. This places me at risk of my health declining, and getting my medication. Now he has this new “telework leave policy” that he just came up with, which is going to make my life hell because I can’t work from home, therefore if i don’t have leave, i have to go on leave without pay. All of these new policies benefit no one but the upper GS class.

  17. I’m the Haz Matl & Waste Manager at an AFB for the last 17+ years and am a top-step GS-11. This pay freeze means that I will have no cost of living increase and since I am at the top of my pay grade, I have no step increases to look forward to. Last year I received a cost of living raise of just over 2%…but my health insurance increased approximately 13%. That gave me an overall “raise” of -11% out of my paycheck. This year I will receive NO cost of living increase and my health insurance is due to go up approximately 7% (I think).

    So now, after 2 years, I’ve received approximately a -18% “raise”…but the American people and Congress keep going on about how I’m overpaid, underworked and deserve this pay freeze. I do my job and do it well. I feel that I’ve been feeling the bad economy along with everyone else…I’ve been putting a son through school, he still lives at home, couldn’t find a job for many months (I supported him), I pay taxes, buy groceries/goods that are going up in price, I support charities and help out those less fortunate. I fail to see how, as federal employees, we HAVEN’T been “sharing” in the burden of this bad economy.

  18. Well, in addition to the pay freeze…..

    If I understand the new tax package correctly:

    Most American workers will get a 2 percentage-point break on their payroll tax for one year. Instead of paying 6.2% on wages up to $106,800, they will only have to pay 4.2% in 2011.

    However, some workers to include some federal employees, teachers, and other public employees who are covered under another another type of pension system, and do not pay into SS we will not get it.

    This tax holiday replaces the Making Work Pay credit, which expires this year.
    Unlike Making Work Pay, which was limited to workers making less than $75,000 ($150,000 for couples), the payroll tax holiday will be available to everyone who pays into Social Security.

    The Making Work Pay Credit was $400 for singles and $800 for married couples.

    The bad news: Since the Making Work Pay Credit was replaced by the Tax holiday, it looks like those workers who do not pay into SS will end up with a tax increase next year.

    Happy new year folks.

  19. I am an employee for the CDC. I have been struggling financially for the past couple of years. I have managed to lessen my current debt. The reason I got to where I am is because when my salary doesn’t change the price of gasoline, utilities, groceries and insurance changes dramatically. It doesn’t make sense to freeze pay when the cost of living rises, this offsets peoples lives in a negative way. I am a single mother with an elderly grandparent, parents with bad health, teen getting ready to graduate high school with no job prospects, and one emotionally disturbed adult child living at home with me. What will happen to them? I served in the US Army and National Guard to protect and preserve the amenities we do have, now we are losing them.

  20. Some people say that the federal employees are getting what they deserve. I can’t accept these statements because we all have families that depend on us. I am at my current federal position because of continued education, going into the military and serving my country and persistence and dedication to what I believe in. Although it appears that we as federal employees have it easy, we do not…..walk in our shoes and see that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

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