The Federal Pay Debate has real consequences

Friday - 1/7/2011, 1:40pm EST

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

In the great Federal Pay Debate, one union rep says it like he sees it:

"I truly don't believe that the American public really understands what it is that the federal workers do and what impact it has on their lives."

Arnold Scott, 6th District National Vice President, told AFGE's Inside Government radio program "when you talk about cutting the budget, it has consequences."

Scott asked whether Americans really want less food inspection or for the care of veterans to be impacted. "Some of this stuff is just crazy that's being proposed... for federal workers at least," said Scott.

High on his list of crazy: furloughs for federal employees. Scott said furloughs would have a very real impact on the paychecks of the federal employees he represents and would eventually threaten their jobs.

As an AFGE National Vice President, Scott represents Locals in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, including Defense Finance and Accounting Service employees who have been fired or are on suspension because their credit ratings negatively impact their security reviews.

Scott said AFGE has argued for the workers before the Merit Systems Protection Board and are awaiting a decision. He's hoping the MSPB will "bring the employees back to work. Employees shouldn't be fired because they have bad credit ratings," said Scott. "Just like every other American out here today, I mean everybody. The economy is bad. For federal workers, it's no different for them, you know. They have the same problems that every other worker has out here and to terminate employees solely based upon a credit rating, I don't believe is fair."

Firing employees, any employee, in a bad economy because of economic conditions only makes things worse, Scott argued.

If you put an employee out of work because of their credit rating, you're not solving the problem. I mean, basically because the employee is leaving the federal government, now they don't have a job and where they couldn't make arrangements to pay their debtors, which most of them have done that. And the agency has basically come back and said that the arrangements that you have made is not acceptable. It's like the agency has become the collection agent for all of these debtors out here and it's just not helping the employees.

The answer, according to Scott, it to set up a program to assist employees before their credit ratings become a factor.

Scott said he knows of feds who have been terminated while they were paying off debts and gone on to file bankruptcy, and were eventually left homeless. "It's just uncalled for and unnecessary," said Scott.

To hear the complete interview, listen to AFGE's January 7th Inside Government online anytime.

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