Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why The Federal Pay Freeze Is Clintonian Triangulation, And Why Having a Union Contract Matters

This past week, the White House announced a proposal to freeze all federal employees for two years, with the exception of active duty military personnel.  This seems eerily similar to President Clinton's behavior after the massive losses in 1994.  Obama, like Clinton, is making a foolhardy attempt to prove that his "Presidency still has relevance," and is proposing this pay freeze in order to beat the GOP to their own position.  This makes me wonder if Dick Morris is hiding out somewhere at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

My problem with this proposed freeze is that there is a better solution if President Obama wanted to institute a freeze while sparing the middle-class federal workers - Institute the pay freeze, with an exemption for employees making under $50k.  Since federal pay increases are based upon percentage of salary(I received .30 an hour last year), the real money savings are on the overpaid management salaries.  For instance, cutting the President's salary from $400k to $200k for one year would save more money than freezing 320 employees with my salary.  Cutting the salary of one member of the House of Representatives from $177k to $100k for one year is the equivalent of freezing over 160 federal employees with my salary.  There are 435 members of the House of Representatives.  Drop their salaries for a year to $100k(still overpaid), and you have the equivalent of  freezing the salaries of nearly 54k federal employees making under $50k.

So what good is a union contract if they are going to freeze federal pay?  Our union contract guarantees our longevity and performance-based pay increases.  This safeguards us from instances like this when we become a political football.  Without our union contract, we would almost certainly have all pay increases frozen.  Before we kick and scream at our union leaders for a federal freeze that they are already fighting against, we should thank the members of the bargaining committee from the last contract negotiations.

In Solidarity,


No comments:

Post a Comment