Washington D.C. – Legislation that ends the shutdown threat for the year and provides a pay raise is a significant achievement for federal employees, some of whom just went five weeks without a paycheck and all of whom started the year under a pay freeze.
“To say federal employees are relieved is an understatement,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said. “So far, 2019 has not been kind to our federal workforce, but this bipartisan compromise funding package is a refreshing turnabout that gives their agencies stable funding and their paycheck a modest bump.”
The average 1.9 percent pay increase is retroactive to Jan. 1 and a total rebuke of the administration’s heavy-handed attempt to ignore the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, which said employees were due for a raise this year. The new 2019 raise includes 1.4 percent across the board and 0.5 percent for locality pay areas, resulting in an average increase of 1.9 percent.
“Freezing the pay of federal employees was an insulting action taken by the administration,’ Reardon said. “This raise is a welcome, albeit modest, nod from Congress that federal employees contribute a great deal to our country and should be paid accordingly.”
NTEU is also pleased to see that the package includes funding for 600 new Customs and Border Protection Officers at our nation’s ports of entry. The hiring, which the agency should move swiftly on, will not fully eliminate the staffing shortage, but it will start to relieve the stress of excessive overtime and temporary reassignments that are a strain on CBP employees and their families.
The package also includes $11.3 billion for the IRS, which is about $200 million more than what the administration originally proposed. Importantly, this funding also includes the remaining $77 million the agency needs to finish implementing tax reform.
“NTEU would like to thank those members of Congress who led the way in making sure federal employees received a fair pay raise this year, including Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland,” Reardon said. “This funding package, while not perfect, shows that the American people want their agencies up and running, delivering services, and their civil servants to be treated with respect.”
Reardon added, “With the CR expiring tomorrow at midnight, Congress needs to move quickly on passage of the funding package and the president must sign it. Our country and our federal workforce deserve to have an end to this ongoing shutdown drama.”
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.