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posted: 3/26/2014 12:01 AM

Federal workers not quite on Easy Street

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Federal workers not quite on Easy Street

I am a federal public servant and member of a union, a group condemned repeatedly by the public and politicians alike. Bruce Rauner, for example, seems to have succeeded by railing against "government union bosses" in his yearlong campaign.

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I'm perplexed, since the federal union of which I'm a member is a paper tiger. Federal employees are unable to strike, and have no representation when it comes to federal pay or benefits, which are set by the president and Congress, both unfriendly to executive branch employees. Federal pay was frozen for three years, with a 1 percent increase this year.

We've experienced unpaid furloughs, increases in pension contributions, comp time instead of overtime pay, and a halt to performance bonuses. I know my take-home pay has fallen in each of the last three years.

Feds, too, are slipping from a shrinking middle class. To make up for these cuts, Feds have suspended contributions to their retirement accounts in large numbers. That's not a good long-range plan. Is it any wonder that the best and brightest coming out of college have no interest in government employment?

Barry Fredrick

Hampshire

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