NTEU and Other Federal Employee Groups Oppose the Retirement Cuts in the Administration’s FY 2018 Budget Request

Pension squeezeLast week, NTEU, along with the rest of the Federal-Postal Coalition, which represents five million federal and postal employees and retirees across the country, sent a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition of the Administration’s FY 2018 Budget Request proposing radical cuts to federal workers’ retirement benefits. It is important to understand that as proposed, these changes would apply to all current employees and retirees.

President Donald J. Trump
President Donald J. Trump

Noting the $182 billion middle class federal workers have already contributed to deficit reduction since 2011 through a three-year pay freeze, reduced pay increases, unpaid furlough days, and two increases in retirement contributions for new hires, without any additional benefit, the letter stated that, “Combined, the proposals affecting federal and postal pay and retirement benefits would cost these individuals and their families more than $149 billion over 10 years, and much more thereafter, as the losses would compound over time.” The letter also added, “These middle-class workers give their all to this nation every day when they go to work, and were the first to contribute when the nation was facing severe economic challenges. They should not be forced to sacrifice even more.”

As a reminder, the provisions in the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request would:

  • Significantly increase Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) employee contributions by about one percentage point each year until they equal the agency contribution rate. It could take approximately five to six years to fully reach the new employee contribution rate of about six or seven percent, translating into a massive pay cut (most FERS employees currently contribute 0.8% of salary towards their future FERS pension, with the agency contributing 13.7%). Employee contributions by federal law enforcement officers, including Customs and Border Patrol Officers, would increase by this same amount, but would not equal their greater agency contribution rates.
  • Base future retirement benefits on the average of the high five years of salary instead of the current high three.
  • Eliminate the FERS supplement which approximates the value of Social Security benefits for those who retire before age 62.
  • Eliminate the annual cost of living adjustments (COLA) for the pensions of current and future FERS employees.
  • Reduce the COLA for the pensions of Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees by about 0.5 percent from what the current formula would provide.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. A quote by Edmund BurkeAs the letter concluded, “Targeting federal and postal employees through the budget process harms hard-working middle-class Americans in every congressional district. It also effectively attacks veterans, who make up one-third of the federal workforce, and our national security interests, as two-thirds of the federal workforce contributes to defending our homeland, supporting our military, or caring for our veterans.”

NTEU is fighting against these harmful proposals on Capitol Hill and will continue to strenuously defend federal workers and retirees from such viscous attacks. Please visit the Legislative Action Center to see what you can do.