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LABOR GROUPS TO OBAMA: DON’T TARGET FEDS IN DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN

A coalition of labor and management groups sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to reject proposals that would require federal employees and retirees to shoulder more of the cost of lowering the nation’s deficit.

President Obama is scheduled to submit a deficit reduction plan to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction on Sept. 19. The plan will detail how to pay for the $447 billion jobs bill that Obama announced Sept. 8, as well as suggest other steps to reduce the nation’s debt in the long term.

In a Sept. 15 letter, the Federal-Postal Coalition – a group of national member organizations that represent 4.6 million active and retired federal and postal workers – urged the president not to include proposals that would further reduce wages and benefits for federal employees and retirees.

“During these tough economic times when citizens are demanding more from the federal government, America cannot afford a second-class civil service,” the coalition members said.

Federal employees already have had their salaries frozen this year and next, which will save the government more than $60 billion during the next decade. In addition, the recently enacted debt ceiling legislation mandates $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal programs and services during the next 10 years.

Agencies already have cut back significantly on hiring employees as a result, and many are planning to downsize their workforces to save money. This will put additional strain on the remaining federal employees, who increasingly are being asked to do more with less.

“The men and women who make up the federal workforce are performing increasingly vital – and often dangerous – tasks but with fewer resources and insufficient staffing. These reductions have a direct impact on the citizens served by federal employees as evidenced by the backlog of cases at the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and numerous other federal agencies,” the coalition wrote.

Nearly 30 organizations signed on to the letter, including the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, the American Postal Workers Union and the Federal Managers Association.

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