Press Release

January 13, 2015
Cardin, Schatz Introduce Legislation to Give Federal Workers a Well-Deserved Raise

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today introduced legislation to provide a 3.8 percent pay raise to federal workers in calendar year 2016.  Federal employees have lost over a billion dollars in salary and benefits due to sequestration and a three-year pay freeze from January 2011 to December 2013.

“We have continued to place an increasing burden on federal workers, who now represent the lowest percentage of the total American workforce in the three-quarters of a century that reliable records have been kept,” said Senator Cardin.  “The knowledge, expertise, skill and commitment of our public sector workforce are some of this country’s greatest assets.  No other nation can match our public workforce’s professionalism and level of accomplishment. Yet all too often, public servants are disparaged, denigrated and forced to bear the brunt of deficit reduction. We need to strengthen and encourage our public workforce. In Maryland and across the nation, these public servants deserve recognition and thanks for their hard work and dedication.”

“Hawai‘i’s federal employees are some of the hardest working public servants in the country,” said Senator Schatz.  “In recent years, our federal workers have endured pay freezes, furloughs, and a government shutdown.  Our bill recognizes the service of working families and gives them a well-deserved raise.”

With a 35 percent pay gap between public and private employees, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act begins to address the pay disparity affecting federal employees.  Nearly 2 million federal workers, including more than 20,000 in Hawai‘i, would benefit from the FAIR Act.  The legislation is supported by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), the Federal-Postal Coalition (FPC), and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

“This bill is an important recognition that federal employees deserve fair raises and the government needs to remain competitive with the private sector to attract the talent our nation requires,” said Colleen M. Kelley, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union.  “We appreciate the leadership of Senators Schatz and Cardin in introducing this bill to provide a fair pay raise for federal employees in 2016, and will work to garner support for it.”

“This 3.8% pay increase proposed in the FAIR Act will help restore federal employees’ pay after three years of pay freezes and the past two years of 1% increases which have been well below the recommended baseline increase,” said J. David Cox, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees.  “We thank Senator Schatz and Senator Cardin for introducing this important piece of legislation, and for recognizing that federal employee pay is a critical component of recruiting and retaining the quality employees who are VA nursing assistants, Border Patrol agents, civilians in DoD who equip the troops, and those who help the elderly and the disabled obtain their Social Security benefits.”

“I thank Senators Schatz and Cardin and Rep. Connolly and numerous other original cosponsors on this legislation, for their leadership in supporting our nation’s federal employees,” said Richard G. Thissen, President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.  “Providing our public servants adequate compensation is about more than just fairness, it is maintaining an efficient and effective federal government.”

“Like other employers, federal agencies must be in a position to offer competitive salaries and wages for both recruitment and retention purposes,” said Alan Loptain, Chairman of the Federal-Postal Coalition.  “Federal workers are presently engaged in thwarting the Ebola outbreak, leading discovery projects on Mars, and ensuring that the nation’s borders remain protected. The FAIR Act ensures that the public’s needs will be met by maintaining a skilled workforce.   The Coalition thanks Senators Schatz and Cardin for their unwavering support of federal employees, and for being a strong voice for the federal workforce in the U.S. Senate.” 

“After three years of pay freezes, followed by two years of meager one percent raises, this legislation is clearly needed,” said Gregory Junemann, President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.  “Not only will it bring our nation’s federal workers a respectable pay increase, but it will also help to show potential federal employees that the federal government is committed to bringing federal compensation back to an acceptable level.  Make no mistake about it, after five years of federal employees seeing their net pay actually decrease compared to inflation, these workers are deserving of at least a 3.8% pay raise. IFPTE commends Congressman Connolly and Senators Schatz and Cardin for recognizing this and we are pleased to endorse this legislation, and ask other members of Congress to do the same.”

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and other House members have introduced the companion bill in the House of Representatives.