NTEU Survey Highlights Sequestration's Toll

Feb 26, 2013, 17:31 ET from National Treasury Employees Union

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While sequestration will undercut the ability of federal agencies to serve the public, it will also take a severe toll on dedicated middle class federal employees, the head of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said today.

An NTEU survey of more than 2,200 of its members facing the likelihood of unpaid furloughs reveals grave concerns about making ends meet, going further into debt, delaying medical treatment, facing difficulty in paying for child care, school tuition and other educational expenses. See the complete results at www.nteu.org.

"These are not theoretical consequences," said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley.
"These are actual, serious problems real people will face, with lasting impact on their lives."

The NTEU survey showed some of the effects on federal agencies of reduced budgets in recent years: hiring freezes; no replacements for employees who leave; critical work not getting done; and agencies lacking resources to complete their missions properly.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said the loss of pay due to a sequestration-caused furlough would result in trouble paying their rent or mortgage, utility bills and food expenses; more than six in 10 said they would have to take money from savings or retirement for current bills; and 19 percent noted that a furlough would be particularly damaging since their spouse already has lost a job or suffered a pay cut.

Hundreds of federal employees will visit their members of Congress this week as part of NTEU's 2013 Legislative Conference to tell their stories of how the public will suffer under a sequester and ask Congress to stop sequestration.

They also will emphasize that federal workers already have contributed $103 billion to deficit reduction through the pay freeze, which began in January 2011, and because of higher pension contributions, with no increase in annuity, from new federal hires.

"Their stories will underscore how, under sequestration, federal workers and their families will face financial hardships, including foreclosure, making hard choices about medical care and choices between paying bills and putting food on their tables," President Kelley said.

Sequestration would be "doubly harmful," Kelley said, because it requires the same percentage cut in each project, program and activity, robbing agencies of the discretion to ensure that the highest priority programs are hit the least.  

NTEU is the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

SOURCE National Treasury Employees Union