AFGE's new ad opposing pay freeze: 'Explain it to me, GOP'


Click to enlarge. (Courtesy of AFGE)

The American Federation of Government Employees is stepping up its campaign against House Republicans who want to further freeze federal pay to cover the cost of a payroll tax extension. AFGE this weekend will launch a nationwide series of television and print ads titled “Explain It To Me, GOP,” that wonder how cutting federal pay and benefits will help the economy recover.

The ad seeks to put a face on federal employees who lawmakers often discuss in general — and sometimes disparaging — terms. It features members of AFGE locals — a Minnesota Veterans Affairs Department nurse, an electronics worker at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania, and a corrections officer at the Miami Federal Detention Center — speaking about their not-exorbitant salaries and very real household expenses.

Republicans on a payroll tax conference committee are pushing for a one-year extension to the federal pay freeze, but Democrats have rejected that proposal. House Republicans have also attached a proposal to cut federal retirement benefits and increase the amount feds pay for their pension to a transportation bill.

What do you think of AFGE’s ad? Will it help sway public opinion, or will it fall on deaf ears?


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  1. I think it would have a lot more credibility if it were not one sided. The title of the campaign itself, “explain it to me, GOP” says it is only directed at republicans. If it were explain it to me, Congress, it would go over better, IMO. The partisan politics are too much and turn-off most amreicans (outside the beltway).

  2. I for one would be happy to explain it to them and how federal deficits impact all working people and jobs. In the meantime, the add just makes these tool feds look stupid.

  3. I will gladly support a pay freeze and the imposition of annual (for three years) CSRS hikes of 0.5% (commencing when the freeze is lifted) if the money saved is exclusively applied towards deficit reduction.

    Any other use is morally wrong, plain and simple. If federal employees are asked to make sacrifices because of fiscal pressures, then those sacrifices should be applied to relieving those fiscal pressures.

  4. But Congress won’t do that. They are looking for a new pot of money to spend on pet projects. The latest is to use cutting our pay and benefits to fund roads!! They know that the 5.5 billion a year they mandated the USPS contribute to prefund health benefits costs 75 years into the future is coming to an end. The USPS can’t afford it, and that 5.5 billion was being stolen by Congress for their pet projects. So now they are looking for other ways to take from us so they can pay for pork projects in their home districts.

  5. The only way I would agree to a freeze or reduction to my benefits would be for ALL members of congress to live under the same laws that they want impose on federal employees.

    Congress needs to be on a pay freeze, pay into social security and invest in their retirement, just like the rest of the federal employees have to. And they need to be under Obmacare after their term in office. What is good for the rest of America is good for them.

  6. I am a 32 year Civil Servant and totally disagree with the Federal Employees bailing out the deficit. How wrong and naive can you be? Why should any of us give up our hard earned wages, have our retiremnet funds jeopardized, take home less pay each year for the next two years.

    Why don’t they slash the funding and budget for a few dozen billion dollar aircraft, stop spending billions on Space Exploration, stop funding Grants that count the number of ducks on the Great Lakes, etc. They are so out of touch.

    Have the companies that pay ZERO taxes, in fact get Tax Rebates in the billions, and yet make Billions in profit foot the bill. Also, is Congress and the House cutting their wages and jeopardizing their retirement funds and contributions? Heck no they are not.

    I firmly believe that they find this to be the easy solution. I have written both of my District’s Senators and Representative, and they all just feed me a bunch of political gibberish on all of the actions currently in legislation that are attacking the well being of the Federal Workforce.

    You know there is no way these Politicians are reducing their own Bread and Butter.

    Absolutely disgraced to be associated with these individuals due to we share a common bond through Federal Employment.

    They should all be fired and if you have more than $100,000.00 in the bank, not be allowed to run for public office.

  7. i have not heard of any house republicans talking about cutting any of their salaries. it is amazing how everyone else should make cuts on their wages, so they can living high on the hog(so to speak)

  8. james,
    have any democrats offered to cut their salaries either?
    face it: this nation is in dire financial straights and significant spending cuts are necessary. Everyone is going to have to pitch in. This also means, in addition to big spending cuts, tax hikes across the board, affecting all income ranges. Painful though it is, the future is indeed grim absent this tough medicine now.

  9. Yes, broad based cuts in spending and/or broad based increases in revenue are truly necessary.

    I cannot think of anything broader or more sensible than to allow the “temporary” Bush income tax cuts to expire.

  10. John,
    I am far from an idiot, and given your inability at correctly spelling my name, I’d say you have precious little room to assess the intelligence of others.
    That said, like it or not, this nation is in a serious fiscal bind that will compel everyone, including federal workers to sacrifice. The alternative is going to be far more painful.

  11. This is NOT just a GOP issue! The root of the problem is both sides and it should be made clear that both sides are expected to do their jobs in spite of any partisan differences.

  12. Retired 1811,
    Last I checked, President Obama was a democrat who put forth the federal pay freeze for 2011 and 2012 and offered a very token 0.5% for 2013 of which 80% would be consumed in the form of higher FERS contributions. It is not a one party matter regarding federal benefits. The reductions are bipartisan and reflect the will of the people who pay our salaries. We have a severe fiscal crisis that will compel sacrifice from all, including federal employees. To protest against what amounts to rather minor cuts would easily be viewed as offensive to those who pay our salaries. As public employees, one of the things we give up is the ability to negotiate our individual compensation. Compensation is at the sufferance and will of the taxpayer and we federal employees should never lose sight of that one very important fact.

    For the record, Congressman Dennis Ross ( R, FL) who has put forth proposals cutting federal benefits has included the congress in a number of those proposals as well. This is yours to research as it has been published.

    I agree we need to sacrifice and so should congress, as well as appointed offficials in the executive and legislative branches.

  13. This attack on the GOP is wrong. I understand that the GOP will be the attack victim because Democratic lawmakers will and already have caved into labors demands to be left alone in this budget cutting season.

    It’s an unfortunate reality that everyone is asked to share in the sacrifices required to balance the budget. We have a $16.4 trillion deficit.

    Everyone screams unfair when there turn comes to make a sacrifice to the cause of this burden. Federal employees are not immune. They have been part of a protected group that has avoided the reality of real world private sector cutbacks that have taken place the past 20 years in the private sector. Now because this debt is being addressed. Federal employees will be asked to accept less.

    There was no guarantee when hired that federal civil service would make them immune to changes in pay and benefits. It’s often presumed, real or imagined that the gravy would just keep coming. For years the government which consisted of a Democratic controlled Congress did, however. Now we must face the piper (debt)

    You federal employees will be happy to know, President Obama say there are plenty of new jobs in the private sector he has created.

  14. *Democrats buy votes with entitlement programs that “only the wealthiest 10% will have to pay for”. This strategy appeals primarily to the 50% of the public that pays no income tax. Of course, the middle class knows that they will be the ones to pay.
    *Republicans get votes through promises of lower taxes (which only appeals to the 50% of the public that actually pays income tax).
    *Both parties have come to realize that you don’t get votes by being fair. You get votes by convincing the majority that someone else is going to have to pay your share of the debt. And who always ends up paying in the end? That’s right…the middle class.

  15. The government needs to make cuts in the form of travel restrictions, eliminating unnecessary programs and getting rid of unnecessary positions (mainly in mid-level management).
    What is wrong with a pay freeze? 1) It does not address the real problem. 2) Once the economy improves and everyone else’s wages go up…it will literally take an act of congress to bring federal wages up to a comparative level.
    Some studies claim that federal workers make more than their private counterparts while other studies show little to no difference. The problem with these studies is that they are too broad. In some cases federal wages are higher and in other cases they are lower.
    Last year one of my trainees left and took a job in the private sector. He started out at a higher wage than I make in spite of the fact that he has no college degree and only a fraction of the experience.
    This is just another example of congress being too incompetent to identify and deal with the real problems.

  16. I have worked for 3 federal organizations, one was as a contract worker after spending years working for local and state agencies. I can tell you I work harder/more with Federal than I ever did any where else. I stay after hours to keep up with all the extras required to complete my job, I stay because I love working for our Veterans.

    Personally I believe our Congress, Reps and the rest of those in DC need to be paid as Federal Employees, with the same insurance and retirement plans, COLA’s.

    I wish I could vote and give myself a raise don’t you??

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