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Entries in Government Workers (1)

Wednesday
Feb162011

Cost Cutting? Or War on Government Workers?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When House Speaker John Boehner uttered "so be it" if federal government jobs are lost, Democrats pounced on his words. But the Ohio Republican's not-so-carefully crafted words are a sign of a bigger battle over government jobs being fought across the country.

As lawmakers figure out ways to trim the budget deficit, both federal and state worker jobs are coming under renewed scrutiny.

The House Republicans' continuing resolution that would fund the government for the remainder of the year, if it passes, calls for hefty cuts in federal agency budgets and would directly affect salaries and jobs.

Even President Obama's budget, released Monday, includes a two-year freeze on federal employee salaries, although they would still be eligible for pay raises under promotions. State workers across the United States are in a similar -- if not worse -- conundrum.

In a case that has perhaps triggered the most uproar, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is trying to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Some observers say it is a deliberate attempt to undermine unions.

Walker says though they may seem politically bold, the cuts he's proposing are modest and needed. Walker insisted that he offered to negotiate with unions but they didn't bite.

Elsewhere, California Gov. Jerry Brown has enacted a state hiring freeze.

A USA Today analysis in August found that federal workers' average salaries have grown to more than double their private-sector counterparts, and that they've been awarded better pay and benefit increases for nine consecutive years.

Some experts say those numbers should be taken with caution because federal government workers are likely to be more skilled and higher-educated than their private-sector counterparts.

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