Maui Business

Schatz Among Senators to Introduce Fed Employee Wage Increase Bill

March 18, 2016, 9:00 AM HST
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US Sen. Brian Schatz. Photo courtesy US Senate.

US Sen. Brian Schatz. Photo courtesy US Senate.

US Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) is one of four legislators to introduce the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, which would provide federal employees with a 5.3% pay increase next year.

Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)‎ and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) were the the other senators involved in the introduction of the act.

The bill is a response to federal employees having lost more than a billion dollars in wages due to sequestration and a three-year freeze on federal pay.

“Federal workers in Hawai‘i and across the country have seen their earnings decrease as a result of furloughs, sequestration and a freeze on pay,” said Sen. Schatz. “These are the dedicated public servants who do everything from delivering our mail to protecting our nation to maintaining our parks and taking care of our veterans. This legislation would help give these workers the raise they deserve and help the government recruit and retain a top-quality workforce.”

“Time after time, public servants in the federal workforce have been called upon to do more with less and they have been forced to contribute far more than their fair share of deficit reduction,” said Sen. Cardin. “We cannot attract and maintain highly qualified personnel by continuing to undervalue the men and women who keep our borders secure, our food safe, care for our veterans and the elderly, and search for cures to crippling diseases. The FAIR Act provides fair pay for hard work being done in Maryland and nationwide on behalf of the American people.”


“For too long, federal employees have been undervalued and underappreciated. Whenever deficit reduction comes up, their wages are the first to take a hit,” Sen. Mikulski said. “Federal workers need a real pay increase, not just catch ups trying to make up for years of pay freezes and diet COLAs. The long-overdue pay increase in the FAIR Act is exactly what federal workers in Maryland and around our country need. I’m proud to fight on the front lines on behalf of federal employee pay, just as federal employees work on the front lines each and every day for the American people.”


“Federal employees have committed their careers to public service and giving back to their country,” said Sen. Brown. “But for several years, their wages have been largely frozen. All workers deserve fair compensation for a day’s work and it’s time to give federal employees a raise.”

According to the American Federation of Government Employees, federal employees have experienced $182 billion in cuts to pay, benefits and salaries. Additionally, in 2014 and 2015, wages were raised by just 1%, which is almost half as much as recommended by the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990.

Private industry wages increased 10.6% on average over the last six years.


“Federal employees paid more than their fair share to help dig us out of the Great Recession,” said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “Now that recovery is in full swing, it’s time to help employees make up some of that lost ground by providing a 5.3% catch-up adjustment. This adjustment will help employees catch up on their credit card bills, student loan debts, home repairs and so many of the everyday costs facing today’s workers. We thank Sen. Schatz for his leadership in advocating a much-needed boost for these hardworking families.”

“On behalf of the workers represented by IFPTE Local 121 and the Hawai‘i Federal Employees Metal Trades Council, we thank Sen. Schatz for not only supporting this much-needed pay raise for federal employees, but actually championing the issue by authoring the legislation calling for a 5.3% increase,”said Jamie Hiranaka, vice president of the Hawai‘i Federal Employees Metal Trades Council. “Because of the great recession, working class federal workers and our families here in Hawai‘i have had to experience very significant cuts to our compensation compared to inflation. We have also endured furlough days, and even seen some lawmakers in Washington go after our pensions. We hope that this legislation sponsored by Sen. Schatz signals a new day for federal workers. It is refreshing and reassuring to know that Sen. Schatz is there fighting for us.”

“Sen. Schatz’s bill would give middle-class federal employees their first meaningful pay raise in years,”said Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union. “Federal workers are finding it harder and harder to keep up with rising costs, while at the same time, their pay has fallen steadily behind the private sector. We applaud Sen. Schatz for introducing this important piece of legislation and extend our appreciation for Sens. Mikulski, Cardin and Brown’s long-term efforts to strengthen the federal workforce. We will work hard to see that Congress passes this pay fairness legislation.”

The FAIR Act is supported by the National Treasury Employees Union, the American Federation of Government Employees, the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and the Federal-Postal Coalition, comprised of 31 national organizations representing five million federal and postal workers and retirees.

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