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Federal Employees News Digest : Dec. 3, 2012
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: email@example.com www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2012 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. December 3, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 21 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com Our goal was to build up enough membership in key spots so that if we went on strike, it would shut down the newspaper. Management's goal was the opposite. They wanted to have enough exempt employees in key jobs so they could keep operating if we went out on strike. They won. We went out on strike twice, and both times the paper operated, albeit on a shoe-string, almost as if nothing happened. In fact, the paper saved a ton of money in salaries even as we were trying to bring them to their knees. We called it "withholding our excellence." Problem was that while we were withholding it, nobody noticed. So what's the point? During one of our contract negotia- tions (usually every two or three years) we proposed that a team of reporters, photographers, accounting types and the like go out and survey other news- papers and comparable jobs in the pri- vate sector. We would check out what they were paying, and come back with recommendations (which would be mandatory) about our next pay raise. I can still hear the management team and labor relations guy laughing. The idea that we---ace journalists that we were---would come up with a fair pay study struck them as ludicrous. "You guys make the pay survey and you come back and tell us how much we owe you, right?" is what they said. I well remember hearing the phrase "inmates running the asylum" more than once. Which is part of the problem with the "gap" between federal pay and pri- vate-sector pay. Most outside studies, whether by conservative think tanks or bipar- tisan congressional groups, show that feds are paid more than the average American worker, and more than people doing the same jobs in the pri- vate sector. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton insisted that the only way to gauge public vs. private pay was to use a total compensation approach. That is, measuring the value of pay plus ben- efits such as vacation, sick leave and retirement. Government comparisons of federal vs. private-sector pay (using only sala- ries) come up with a different conclu- sion. They have consistently shown that in most jobs, most feds are paid less, considerably less, than their private- sector counterparts. Federal unions say the approach used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and others is more accurate because it reflects the fact that in government (but not the private sector) women and minorities in the same GS grades and steps make the same as their white male counterparts. What's missing---and what may never be found or adopted---is a system that would compare federal vs. private- sector pay, or using "total compensa- tion," that a majority of Americans, in and outside of government, will believe. (For the record, over my 30 years with The Washington Post, scores of reporters left to take jobs in the gov- ernment. Many were in public affairs offices, some in policy positions. None of them, to my knowledge, took a pay cut to join Uncle Sam. Most got sub- stantial raises. During the same period, three people that I knew from govern- ment came into the newspaper. All of them took a pay cut. Whether this means something not, I don't know.) So for now, depending on who is saying it, you are either grossly over- paid or ridiculously underpaid.
Nov. 26, 2012
Dec. 10, 2012