Federal employees ask how cutting their pay, benefits puts Americans back to work

The American Federation of Government Employees is launching a nationwide advertising campaign this weekend calling out Republican lawmakers for supporting a plan to pay for the payroll tax relief extension by slashing federal employee wages.

The new ads feature three federal employees from AFGE Locals representing Veterans Affairs nurses, Defense Department workers and federal corrections officers. Each of the employees asks GOP lawmakers to “explain it to me” how cutting federal pay and benefits helps put Americans back to work.

“I earn less than $ 45,000 a year. Explain it to me, GOP, how cutting my pay creates jobs,” says Paul Hoban of AFGE Local 1647, which represents employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania.

Twelve percent of the salary I earn caring for veterans goes to my retirement. Explain it to me, GOP, how cutting my retirement puts people to work.” – Teresa Capecchi AFGE Local 3669,

I pay more than $ 9,000 a year for family health insurance. Explain it to me, GOP, how cutting my take-home pay lowers unemployment.” – Eric Young AFGE Local 501

The 30-second television ad will premiere in the Washington area during the Sunday morning talk shows on ABC and CBS and will air Monday and Tuesday on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. A full-page print ad will run in Monday’s Politico newspaper, which is distributed to every lawmaker on Capitol Hill. Versions of both ads also are being sent to AFGE locals to run in their local communities.

Republicans in Congress have proposed paying for the payroll tax relief extension by freezing federal employee salaries for another year.

“Federal employees already have given up their pay raises for two years in a row and many are in danger of losing their jobs because of drastic agency downsizing efforts,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “Freezing their wages for another year adds insult to injury and does nothing to get Americans back to work.”

Hundreds of AFGE members from every major federal agency and representing all 50 states will be in Washington for AFGE’s annual Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference Feb. 12-15. Members will be meeting with their Congressional representatives during the week to address the attacks on federal employees’ pay, pensions and benefits.

The new ads build on the “Explain it to me, GOP” campaign that AFGE launched in December. A special website, www.ExplainItToMeGOP.org, has been created to share information regarding the issue. Copies of the ad can be viewed on this website.