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Union chief vows fight to halt further pay, benefits cuts

Nov. 7, 2012 - 07:47PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Federal employees won a victory for their pay, pensions and benefits after President Obama won his bid for re-election Tuesday night, according to the head of the largest federal employees union.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the union expects Obama’s recommended 0.5 percent raise for 2013 will be paid retroactive to Jan. 1 once Congress approves a fiscal 2013 budget. Agencies currently are operating at 2012 budget levels — and 2012 pay scale levels — through March under a continuing resolution because Congress did not approve a 2013 budget by the start of the fiscal year Oct. 1.

Cox said the union opposes and will not compromise on any proposals to increase employees’ pension contributions or cut their benefits as Congress wrestles with a variety of potential tax increases and governmentwide budget cuts — known as sequestration — slated to go into effect Jan. 2.

“We are going to be bitterly opposed to any hit on employee benefits and pay,” Cox said. “We are not an ATM for Congress.”

The union will oppose any attempts by Congress to wrap federal benefits into a larger legislative deal and will put pressure on individual lawmakers who support those provisions, Cox said.

He said he expects the next month to be busy as Congress gets back into session to pass legislation delaying or canceling sequestration cuts.

“I have not slept much in the last 30 days, and I don’t intend to sleep much in the next 30 days,” Cox said.

Other areas the union would like to see progress on include:

• Expand the use of labor-management partnerships that work out differences between agencies and unions.

• Continue efforts to insource services at agencies and bring more contracted operations back into traditional agency operations.

• Avoiding any reduction in the overall numbers of federal employees.

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