Pay Freeze for Federal Employees is the Wrong Call

Press Release August 30, 2018

Washington D.C. – The president’s announcement just before Labor Day that he wants to freeze pay for federal employees in 2019 disregards the contributions of federal workers and the economic struggles they face—as all Americans do—in keeping up with rising costs of housing, health care, education and goods and services.

"This is a deeply disappointing action and one more indication that this administration, in this economic environment, simply does not respect its own workforce,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.

The call for a pay freeze came today with the issuance of an alternative pay plan memo from the White House. Congress can override the president’s action through the appropriations process.

NTEU is pleased that the Senate has acted to do just that in approving a 1.9 percent increase on average for federal employees in January as part of funding legislation.

The 1.9 percent raise is part of the so-called “Minibus 2” legislation that combines the 2019 spending plans for Financial Services and General Government; Interior; Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development; and Agriculture.

“It is NTEU’s intent to continue working in Congress to secure a pay raise for the middle-class employees who serve this country every day as part of the federal workforce,” Reardon said. “They have already endured years of little to no increases and their paychecks cannot stretch any further as education, health care costs, gas and other goods continue to get more expensive.”

The call for a pay freeze for federal employees is especially painful given inflation and with economists predicting that private sector professional salaries will grow by an average of 3 percent this year, Reardon added.

NTEU continues to support legislation to give federal workers a 3 percent pay adjustment next year. The legislation, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, is H.R. 4775 and S. 2295.

NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.