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Federal Employees News Digest : Sept. 24, 2012
Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. September 24, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 11 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com ‘Even more severe’ The Bipartisan Policy Center, a good- government organization, agreed with the report's findings---and pointed to the "indiscriminate" nature of the cuts and the negative impact they would have on federal employees, contractors and the public. "BPC believes that the practical impact of sequestration would be even more severe than that suggested by OMB's calculations, because the cuts will be implemented in the middle of the fiscal year," Steve Bell, senior director of the center's Economic Policy Project, said. Bell pointed out that by the Jan. 2, 2013, deadline and imposition of sequestration, the federal government will have spent a significant portion of its budget for fiscal 2013. Because of this, the $55 billion in cuts required for that period will have to be accelerated---potentially resulting in even sharper pain. "We strongly hope that the OMB report reveals the ham-handed and indiscrimi- nant sequester cuts for what they are: an indefensible and irresponsible way to make budgetary changes," Bell said. "The message to policymakers is clear---urgent action is needed to replace the looming dysfunction of sequestration with a balanced plan to address the deficit and the nation's perilous fiscal trajectory." Workforce impact Federal employee unions pointed in par- ticular to the potential economic effects of federal workforce reductions. "These cuts would mean hiring freez- es, furloughs and staffing reductions at the Border Patrol, Bureau of Prisons, Transportation Security Administration and other agencies that keep America safe," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox said in a statement. "We should not do anything that is going to choke off our progress in restoring fiscal strength and put people who provide critical services out of work," said National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley. "Out-of-work federal employees will only add to the long unemployment lines and the burden on local communities and state governments." To see the report, go to: http://tinyurl. com/9y73sab. Study claims feds work fewer hours than private sector The Heritage Foundation last week released a report which the group said demonstrates that private-sector workers spend more hours at work than workers in the public sector. "The results show that private-sector employees work 41.4 hours during a typical work-week," states the Heritage Foundation report. "Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours." The document further extrapolates that "private-sector employees work the equiva- lent of 3.8 more 40-hour workweeks than federal employees, and 4.7 more weeks than state and local government workers. Put another way, private employees work about one month more each year than public employees." The study said the findings are based on data drawn from the American Time Use Survey, a "time diary" dataset sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Counter-charges One public employee leader accused the conservative think-tank of manipu- lating data. "The Heritage Foundation has found yet another opportunity to manipulate data in order to pit the public against govern- ment workers," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox said in a Sept. 13 statement. "Its recent 'report' is utterly misleading in claiming that public-sector employees work fewer hours than those in the pri- vate sector," Cox stated. "The differences Heritage cites evaporate if one adjusts for firm size and length of service---the two most important factors determining hours of work and paid time off." "The reality is that so many private, non-union employers provide absolutely no paid time off," Cox said. But the Heritage report---noting that "the 'underworked' government employee should be of concern to taxpayers who expect private-sector levels of work in the public sector in exchange for private-sector levels of compensation"---did have some- thing to say about paid time off. "With several recent studies suggesting an overall compensation premium for pub- lic employees, reducing aspects of that pre- mium---such as paid leave---could be part of a larger strategy to shrink the pay gap and save taxpayer money," the report stated. "More generally, work time differences are a reminder to lawmakers that they should ensure that public employees' work time and compensation are generally in line with those of private-sector employees," the report concluded. To see the report, go to: http://tinyurl. com/9swned2. ••• In Brief Temporary funding measure advances The House on Sept. 13 approved short- term legislation to fund the federal govern- ment from Oct. 1 until March 27, 2013. The Senate was slated to consider the bill at press time, with passage expected. The six-month continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 117), which the House passed on a vote of 329-91, continues funding at the current rate of operations for federal agencies, pro- grams and services. The bill also provides funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund to aid recovery from Hurricane Isaac and other incidents, and provides additional funding and flexibilities for a small number of other exceptions. The legislation also extends the federal civilian pay freeze for the period covered by the bill. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who said it is "essential" for Congress to stop passing "short-term funding Band-Aids," nonethe- less called the bill "a good-faith effort to pro- vide limited but fair funding for government programs." continued from page 1 continued on page 4
Oct. 1, 2012