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Federal workers wanting fairness should be careful what they ask for

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POSTED March 10, 2013 9:52 p.m.

It’s been a lament repeated by federal workers in and around Virginia and Washington, D.C., in stories and newscasts regarding the sequester: It’s not fair that they are getting treated differently than the rest of Americans.

They are referencing the coming furloughs and pay cuts in order for Uncle Sam to satisfy the automatic pay cuts.

If they want fairness, then let’s give it to them.

For starters, federal workers on a whole are compensated 16 percent better than their private sector counterparts. That’s according to statistics released in January 2012 by the Congressional Budget Office. To be fair, we need to give federal workers as a whole a 16 percent pay cut in wages and benefits.

A large swath of private sector as well as state and local employees have had their wages cut via reduced hours whether it is non-paid furloughs or cutback in hours worked. Fairness cries for reduced hours and the accompanying less pay for federal workers.

At the same time, private sector and government employees not connected with the federal bureaucracy have had their workload increased. It’s only fair the same be done with the federal employees.

For the past six years much of the private sector hasn’t hired. The same is true for local government as well as state government to a lesser degree. Let’s not hire any more federal employees for the next six years including replacing those who depart voluntarily. It’s only fair.

Many private sector workers have seen their retirement plans funded by their employees cease to exist, shift to 401Ks, or be whittled back. Equal treatment decrees that federal employees enjoy the same erosion of retirement benefits.

A growing number of private sector full-time and part-time employees are seeing their hours cutback to fewer than 29 so their employers aren’t burdened with expensive mandated health insurance premiums. It seems only fair that a segment of federal employees enjoy the same double whammy of fewer hours and the accompanying reduced compensation as well as having no health insurance.

Federal employees get 10 paid holidays. Some private sector employees do, most don’t. Let’s make things fair and whittle back paid holidays for federal employees.

Not all federal workers have it better than their counterparts in the private sector.

Some with advanced degrees such as a PhD are compensated less in comparison.

That said the first six years of the Great Recession hit the private sector hardest followed by local governments and school districts.

At the same time they were hit with reduced pay many had their taxes increased in various forms to help support state and federal government expenditures that included compensating government workers.

Yes, the tide is turning a bit for the private sector except for those getting hit with the drastic reduction in hours brought to them courtesy of the Unaffordable Federal Health Care Plan.

If fairness is what federal employees want, then let’s be fair.

The private sector bore the biggest brunt of the pain for six years. It’s only fair that federal employees get their turn at bat for the next six years.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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