Just wanted to share a few tidbits I learned from the recent AFGE newsletter I get
1)Senators Lieberman, Collins Want to Slash Federal Wages, Benefits by $60 Billion: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman and Ranking Member Susan Collins today proposed nearly $60 billion in cuts to federal employees’ wages and benefits as part of their recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. This would be on top of $60 billion in cuts already contributed by federal employees through a two-year pay freeze. Meanwhile, the two senators have proposed a paltry $11 billion reduction to the $320 billion spent each year on government service contractors. And they’ve left in place a policy that lets government contractors charge taxpayers nearly $700,000 for each contractor employee. Their proposal would extend the two-year pay freeze on federal employees for another year, force federal employees to contribute another 1.2 percent of their salaries toward retirement, reduce the salary used to determine an employee’s monthly retirement payments, bar employees from counting any unused sick leave toward retirement calculations and reduce workers’ compensation benefits for employees injured on the job.
“Forcing additional pay and benefits cuts on middle class federal employees, while continuing to use taxpayer dollars to pad the million dollar salaries of federal contractors, is outrageous,” AFGE President John Gage said. “It’s exactly this kind of unconscionable behavior that is fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
But lawmakers on the other side of Capitol Hill proposed a completely different plan. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee led by Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings this week released a report with recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, urging the supercommittee to avoid further cuts to federal employees’ compensation and benefits given the significant cuts already imposed on them. Federal employees already sacrificed by having their pay frozen this year and next, which will save the government $60 billion during the next decade. In addition, as a result of $1 trillion in cuts to agency budgets, federal agencies have already cut back significantly on hiring employees and many are planning furloughs and reductions-in-force.
“Further cuts to federal employee compensation, benefits or workforce size will negatively impact recruitment and retention and substantially degrade agency performance,” the lawmakers wrote in their report.
Rather than impose additional cuts to the federal workforce, the supercommittee should reform the compensation of government contractors, the lawmakers said. They endorsed a proposal from AFGE to cap the compensation government contractors can charge taxpayers at $200,000 annually per employee, which is the salary Cabinet secretaries earn. Currently, government contractors can charge taxpayers $693,951 a year for each of their five highest paid executives, while there is no cap for other contractor employees. Lowering this cap to $200,000 and applying it to all contractor employees would save the government $50 billion over 10 years. The lawmakers also said the government should consolidate the purchasing power of the eight million enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to obtain lower prescription drug prices, saving $1.6 billion over 10 years. They also asked the supercommittee to reject a proposal by the president to establish a Commission on Federal Public Service Reform, calling such a commission redundant of past and current efforts to reform federal personnel policies.
2)Former NSPS Architect Calls for an End to Labor-Management Partnerships: At the same hearing, former Office of Personnel Management senior advisor George Nesterczuk blasted labor unions and called on Congress to kill labor-management partnerships, saying they are “a radical escalation of the role of federal unions.” “Unions are a special interest. They exist to maximize the extraction of benefits from employers on behalf of their members. To place them in a position where they can influence public policy for their own benefit is a clear conflict of interest and should not be tolerated,” said Nesterczuk, a conservative who helped create the controversial and outgoing National Security Personnel System.
3)Extremist Senators Vote to Kill Obama’s Jobs Plan: The majority of senators voted in favor of advancing President Barack Obama’s 447 billion jobs bill Tuesday, but the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to move it to debate. The procedural hurdle was part of the right wing’s efforts to reject any plan proposed by President Obama even though it has elements they traditionally support. Obama has plans to break the jobs bill down and challenge lawmakers to reject each individually.
4)Right Wing Senators Proposes Anti-Middle Class Bill: In response to President Obama’s jobs plan that they just voted down, right-wing senators came up with their own legislation that takes on working families while benefiting corporations. The bill, put together by Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain, combines other bills recently introduced that attack labor unions, working families and the middle class on all fronts and have nothing to do with the job crisis. For example, the Paul-McCain bill would repeal the health care act that, among other things, provides coverage to children and people with existing conditions. The bill would destroy workers and their unions by blocking the National Labor Relations Board from taking actions against employers who punish their employees for choosing to unionize or to exercise the right to strike by eliminating or transferring their jobs somewhere else. The bill would prohibit any federal agency from issuing new regulations until the unemployment rate is equal to or less than 7.7 percent (the unemployment rate in January 2009).
Whew! Keeping the masses in their place is hard "work." Now it's time for another recess, the third in just 7 weeks.