Federal employee unions and their supporters in Congress are vowing to fight attempts to scale back pension benefits to balance the budget. Both the White House and Congress are considering plans to up the pension contributions of the 2.2 million federal employees, The Washington Post reported.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., whose congressional district is home to 120,000 federal works and retirees, said the plans “are deliberately making the federal employee a scapegoat for the federal debt and deficit spending.”
The plans would raise the employee contribution to around 6 percent from the current 0.8 percent, resulting in about a 5 percent pay cut.
Union advocates argue that the hike would not only cut take-home pay but result in an exodus of hundreds of thousands of federal workers who are currently eligible to retire and make federal work less desirable. Connolly said that about 60 percent of the federal workforce is currently eligible to retire.
“People are going to look at that and wonder, is this really a career I want to choose? We’re making it a far less attractive choice for people entering the workforce,” Connolly said.
Federal workers are laboring under a two-year pay freeze imposed in January and a slowdown in hiring.
In the 1980s, the government began requiring new hires to pay into the Social Security system. National Treasury Employees Union’s Maureen Gilman said “It’s not the gold-plated system people are pointing it out to be.”
Representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees also spoke out against the plan, according to the Post.
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