John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, is worried that the proposed two-year federal pay freeze is just the beginning of the bad news for federal employees. In a video AFGE just posted, Gage said he will meet with the administration later this week, and “I’m expecting the other shoe to drop with something about our pensions coming up.”
Gage also uses the video to attack everything about the pay freeze, from the figures used to derive the expected savings, to Obama’s negotiating strategy, the assumption that federal employees should bear some of the recession’s burden, to USA Today’s coverage of the federal pay gap issue.
“This whole thing is a sham,” he said with regard to the savings estimations. But the sentiment carries through the entire 8-minute clip.
Gage said he will use this development as an opportunity to push back against the notion that federal employees are overpaid and have bloated pensions. “People don’t realize what a government worker is,” Gage said. “They don’t realize it’s a VA nurse, a Border Patrol agent, a Social Security claims representative, a mine inspector, and that’s what we have to do, like never before, is to get the American public to really focus on the services that the federal government, and federal workers and our members produce for them.”
But he’s still feeling pretty bleak about labor’s chances of fighting this: “I see no hope, really, of trying to get Congress to reverse this.”
After the jump, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s “cotside chat” video on the pay freeze.