NTEU pushes for bigger raise for federal workforce

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Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaking at the NTEU 2014 Legislative Conference. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., speaking at the NTEU 2014 Legislative Conference. (Photo: Scott Maucione/FedScoop)

If federal union leaders get their way, government employees could see a slightly bigger raise next year than the one the White House recently proposed.

The National Treasury Employees Union announced it’s advocating a 3.3 percent increase in federal wages for 2015, among other priorities, at its legislative conference held Feb. 26 in Washington, D.C.

The announcement comes after the White House proposed a 1 percent increase in federal pay in its 2015 budget, which will be released next week.

“I just don’t assume the 1 percent will happen,” Colleen Kelley, president of NTEU, said at the Feb. 26 event. “We will do everything we can to make sure it’s at least 1 percent and everything we can to move it toward 3.3 percent.”

NTEU’s proposal is slightly more modest than the American Federation of Government Employees’ suggestion of a 4 percent increase, announced yesterday.

In a statement, J. David Cox Sr., national president of AFGE, called the budget’s 1 percent increase “pitiful.”

NTEU’s 3.3 percent comes from a 1.3 percent increase across the board from the employee cost index — adjusted for federal standards from 1.8 percent — plus 2 percent for locality.

“We thought long and hard about what we thought was fair,” Kelley said.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who spoke at the event, supported a pay increase, but did not have a specific number in mind.

“We must ensure compensation stays competitive with the private sector,” he said in his speech.

The political climate in the House is currently not conducive to such an increase. NTEU said it might advocate attaching a pay increase to an omnibus bill to increase its chances of passage.

President Barack Obama increased federal pay by 1 percent in December 2013, ending a pay freeze that lasted from January 2010.

Other items on NTEU’s legislative priorities included ending sequestration and adequately funding agencies in 2015.

“The sequester has got to stop,” Kelley said.

Additionally, NTEU is pushing for a rollback in the pension contribution increases.

The agenda also calls for less government contracting.

“We need to return the work to the hands of the federal employees,” Kelley said.

The government spent $460 billion in federal contracts in 2013. NTEU feels some contracts, especially those in consulting and management services, do not provide a good value to the government.

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Colleen Kelley, Government IT News, Jon Tester, NTEU, workforce
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