A budget deal--at workers' expense

Congress has passed, and the President is expected to sign, a bipartisan two-year budget agreement. The deal partly repeals some of the sequestration cuts, but requires increased pension contributions from federal employees hired on or after 1/1/2014. Those employees will have to pay 4.4% toward their pensions, but will not receive larger pensions as a result. Military retirees will also receive lower COLAs (cost-of-living adjustments) on their pensions until age 62. AFGE opposed these measures. American federal workers have already experienced years of frozen wages, increased costs toward pensions in 2012, and enforced time off without pay. Further, federal employee retirement funds have been used by the Secretary of the Treasury to delay the time it would take to hit the debt ceiling. Much broader cuts to federal pensions had been proposed initially; AFGE and other unions fought to keep even more severe cuts from taking place.

“Slashing government spending for vital programs that benefit millions of Americans won’t create a single new job, and going after the pay and benefits of federal employees won’t make the government more efficient,” J. David Cox, President of AFGE, said in a release on 12/18/2013.