Feb. 21, 2012 — Legislation to renew a payroll tax holiday and extension of unemployment benefits passed both the Senate and House on Friday, and is now on its way to President Obama’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it. While the NALC strongly supported the extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance benefits, the union did not support the overall package because of a provision that singles out future federal and postal employees.
Despite the NALC’s best efforts, the overall deal includes a provision to “pay for” the unemployment insurance extension with an increase in pension contributions by federal and postal employees hired after 2012. NALC President Fredric V. Rolando weighed in with Congress that this will cost the average new postal employee nearly $1,000 per year and is simply “a tax hike or a pay cut by another name.”
The AFL-CIO issued a statement of “no support,” and while a few members of Congress noted that federal workers cannot continue to be singled out and treated unfairly by Congress, in the end it was not enough and the deal passed through both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support.
While Congress needed to take action to strengthen the economy and give millions of jobless Americans much needed benefits, it should have been done through shared sacrifice, not on the backs of future generations of postal and federal workers. This is only the beginning of what is expected to be a series of hits to current and future postal and federal employees to offset the cost of unrelated legislation. NALC needs to be diligent in standing up to Congress, opposing any such provisions moving forward.