Legislative Concerns Regarding Federal Employee Pay

Feeling hungry or sick? Food and Drug Administration employees help ensure the safety of food and new medicines. NTEU, National Treasury Employees UnionIn recent years, FDA employees have suffered from an erosion in compensation stemming from the three-year pay freeze in 2011, 2012, and 2013, followed by below‐ market 1% pay raises in both 2014 and 2015, and this year’s meager 1.3% average adjustment. Using the relevant private‐sector wage data from the Department of Labor’s Employment Cost Index, private industry wages increased 10.6% on average over these last six years. Additionally, from 2011 through 2015, FDA employees received no increase to locality pay rates, which are designed to reduce existing pay gaps between private and federal jobs by geographic area. Calendar year 2016 represented the first time in six years that locality pay rates were increased (by approximately 0.3%).

The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request proposed a 1.6% pay raise for calendar year 2017. However, the 3‐year pay freeze, extended pay reductions, and lack of locality pay increases over 5 years, coupled further with congressional action to dramatically increase retirement contributions for new FDA employees in both 2012 and 2013, have already translated into federal employees in general contributing $182 billion toward deficit reduction over ten years. And, lagging federal pay rates have taken their toll on FDA employees and their families over the last few years. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D‐VA) is expected to introduce a revised Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) pay bill soon calling for a 5.3% adjustment for 2017.

The FDA must be able to respond to a healthier national job market and to ongoing pay trends in the private‐sector marketplace which point to an average base pay increase of 3% in 2016 for private‐sector workers. FDA employees need to be provided with pay raises that will ensure that a professional, skilled workforce is enforcing our nation’s laws and regulations. FDA employees serve as consumer safety officers, analysts, research scientists, toxicologists, and special agents who provide critical services to the American consumers every day. These very FDA workers, whose raises are trailing those of their private sector counterparts, face ever‐increasing health care and grocery bills, and have rent and mortgages to pay. It is time to provide FDA employees with pay increases that reflect the critical services we provide to the American consumer every day.

Therefore, NTEU urges Congress to:

  • Provide a fair and adequate pay raise for calendar year 2017 that includes an increase in locality pay rates
  • Support for Congressman Connolly’s pay bill that provides a 5.3% pay adjustment for 2017

Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to support FDA employees.