NTEU Backs Legislation for Federal Pay Raises in 2019 and 2020

Press Release February 7, 2019

Washington D.C. – The National Treasury Employees Union is endorsing new legislation to give federal employees pay raises this year and next.

The proposals, which have already picked up strong support in Congress, would increase federal pay by 2.6 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020.

“Federal employees are thrilled to hear members of Congress talking about pay raises, especially after the disastrous five-week partial government shutdown,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “It is gratifying to see congressional support for the federal workforce.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) are lead sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act to give federal employees a 3.6 percent increase in 2020. The bills were introduced today.

And Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is lead sponsor of the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019 to provide a 2.6 percent raise this year, a version of which was already approved by the House on Jan. 30 in a bipartisan vote.

Reardon sent a letter to all senators, urging their support for the 2.6 percent raise this year, which would match the increase provided to military servicemembers.

“Like all American workers and middle-class taxpayers, federal employees face ever-increasing costs of living, with rising utility, health care and food bills, along with school loan and rent or mortgage obligations,” Reardon wrote.

NTEU opposed President Trump’s pay freeze for 2019 and has encouraged Congress to reassert its authority over federal pay by overriding the president’s decision and passing a pay increase.

“Due to a three-year pay freeze and five subsequent years of below-market pay raises that were lower than the amounts called for under current law, federal employees have seen their wages fall further behind the private sector, which has adversely impacted them and their families,” Reardon wrote.

Reardon commended Rep. Connolly, Sen. Schatz, Sen. Van Hollen and all of those who continue to fight on behalf of the men and women of the civil service. During the shutdown, the American people rallied behind federal workers in every state, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck and struggled to pay their bills during the shutdown.

Also, NTEU is one of 30 employee groups of the Federal-Postal Coalition, which sent a letter to senators endorsing the 2019 pay raise bill, S. 262.

“Following the recent 35-day government shutdown, no other group in our country has been more demoralized, and asked to sacrifice more, than our federal workforce,” the Federal-Postal Coalition letter states.  “Despite the uncertainty and hardship that federal workers endured throughout the shutdown, they showed an unparalleled commitment to exemplary public service.”

Private sector wages in the last five years have risen an average of 10.4 percent, while federal employees faced repeated pay freezes and below-market raises. Along with dramatic increases to their retirement contributions, federal employees have already endured $200 billion in cuts over 10 years, the letter states.

“Federal employees are counting on Congress and the administration to pass the remaining appropriations bills, avoid another disastrous shutdown and recognize the valuable contributions of the federal workforce by ensuring they receive a fair pay raise each year,” Reardon said.

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