Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) under attack in Debt Ceiling Negotiations!
According to recent published reports, the federal employee retirement system “has emerged as a key target” in negotiations about our national debt.
It's not right – and we need to speak out right now!
Uncertainty is paramount in Washington as lawmakers wrestle with how to deal with the nation’s debt. From every corner of the Capitol, stakeholders such as industry, contractors, non-profits, defense spending, social and educational programs, and entitlement programs are concerned about the potential impact the eventual compromise will have on their industries. Federal employees are no exception.
NATCA and other federal employee unions and associations have been working on the FERS issue as a top priority for over a year now. This issue, like many others that negatively impact federal employees, is being driven by the current environment in Washington, D.C. to reduce the deficit, in part, on the backs of federal employees.
This issue is part of the high-level deficit/debt-ceiling discussions that are currently on-going. While all these discussions are happening behind closed doors, and no one can speak with certainty on what cuts will end up as part of a deal, published reports indicate that there are $1.04 trillion in cuts on the table. Federal employee benefits are likely targets, as they were in the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommendations released last year.
Because of the mandated age-56 retirement, controllers currently contribute 1.3 percent of their salaries towards their pension benefits. That number is 0.5 percent higher than what non-controller federal employees pay. If the percentage was increased to 5.8 for federal employees, our retirement experts predict that the burden for controllers would increased to 6.3 percent. As we speak to the different offices involved in the process, no one can speak with any certainty as to whether or not federal pensions will be included, much less what the final number might be.
Just as we did with the pay freeze issue and with the Deficit Commission recommendations, we are advocating hard with the White House and House and Senate leadership on the unfair impact this will have on our members, as well as the negative impact it will have on the National Airspace System (NAS). The key here is that ALL federal employees are being targeted.
The fact is that as the debt ceiling discussions have accelerated, all the associations and unions representing federal employees have agreed to address Congress collectively. The message we are asking you to send to your federally-elected representatives today is a collective message that addresses the FERS issue from the perspective of ALL federal employees.
We need you to take a few minutes today and TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW!