Washington’s Latest Attempt to Slash our Pay & Benefits
05/10/2018 - On May 4th, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sent a series of legislative proposals to House Speaker Paul Ryan. In line with the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget attacks released earlier this year, the ongoing fight to slash the pay and benefits of postal and federal workers continues. OPM proposes:
- Increasing employee FERS contributions 1% a year up to 7.25%;
- Eliminating FERS Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), and reducing CSRS COLAs by 0.5%;
- Eliminating the FERS Social Security retirement supplement;
- Reducing retirement benefits by using a “high five” salary average formula, rather than the current “high three” average;
“Such changes would mean thousands of dollars taken out of active workers’ paychecks and thousands more in reduced benefits for retirees,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. Taken together, the proposals outlined by OPM would take a staggering $144 billion out of the pockets of dedicated civil servants over the next ten years.
This move by OPM was received by many on Capitol Hill as a prelude to inserting the proposals in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is being considered this week. The NDAA sets military spending levels and is considered by lawmakers as one of the annual “must pass” pieces of legislation.
APWU worked in concert with our sisters and brothers in the Federal-Postal Coalition and with supportive lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to oppose inclusion of the OPM legislative proposals in the NDAA. When the House Armed Services Committee passed its annual NDAA bill on May 9th, we were successful in excluding any of the above-mentioned threats to our members’ livelihoods.
“This wasn’t the first attempted legislative attack on our pay and benefits, and it won’t be the last,” said APWU President Dimondstein, “Our adversaries will use any opportunity to target public servants, and we must stay vigilant to defend against the very real dangers we face in Washington.” As we await full floor consideration of the NDAA we will monitor the amendment process and be ready if there is an attempt to add this to the measure before final passage in the House.
Last year, similar proposals to slash postal and federal pension benefits and take-home pay were included in the House budget, but Congress ultimately rejected the cuts and adopted the Senate budget instead.
The full OPM letter to Speaker Ryan can be found here.