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We’re Already Paying,’ Federal, Postal Worker Groups Remind Congress

The APWU and a broad coalition of postal and government employee organizations is urging Congress not to extract additional budget savings from the pockets of pubic workers and retirees as it attempts to avoid an impasse over “fiscal cliff” issues.

“The federal workforce already has borne the burden of substantial budget savings over the past two years,” the Federal-Postal Coalition said in a letter to members of Congress [PDF] Nov. 19.

Since the beginning of 2011, the coalition noted, Congress has already passed more than $103 billion (over $50,000 per employee) in cuts to federal employee compensation over the next 10 years.  The cuts have resulted in an extended pay freeze for most government workers, and newly hired employees are being forced to pay $15 billion more for retirement benefits.

“Federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans,” the letter said. “No other group has been asked to financially contribute the way they have.”

“The substantial budget savings that have been squeezed out of the federal workforce thus far should be taken into account when crafting any budget deal,” the government workers’ organizations said.

“It simply does not make sense to negotiate deals intended to ensure adequate government funding while simultaneously undermining the adequacy of that government.”

The letter was sent as the Obama administration and House and Senate leaders are attempting to forge an agreement that would prevent a wide array of tax increases and massive, across-the-board funding cuts for most government programs from occurring automatically at the beginning of 2013.