Editor’s note: Thousands of Alabamians will be affected by President Trump’s cancellation of raises for federal civilian workers. This is The Star editorial board’s suggested letter from those workers to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers.
Rep. Mike Rogers, we need you.
We’re among the thousands of federal civilian workers whose scheduled 2.1 percent pay raises for 2019 have been canceled by President Trump. Some of us work at Anniston Army Depot, others at the Center for Domestic Preparedness at McClellan. We work just a few miles from where you live in Saks. And we need your help.
In fact, we need the assistance of Alabama’s entire congressional delegation. Civilian federal workers like us are a huge part of our state’s workforce — there are 38,000 of us, in fact. And Trump’s decision to cancel our raises while also installing an enormous tax cut designed to help large corporations and the rich and boosting federal spending is insulting. Alabama’s federal civilian employees, deserve better.
We need you.
This is why we elected you.
This is why you are in Washington.
We acknowledge the difficulty of Washington politics since the two terms of President Obama and now nearly two years of President Trump. Bipartisanship is largely extinct. For Republicans like you, Rep. Rogers, it’s doubly tough because everything is seen through the prism of Trump and his influence over the Republican Party in this important midterm election year. Your U.S. House colleague, Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, struggled to fend off a Republican challenge for her seat after she rightly criticized the president for his reprehensible Access Hollywood comments.
If you argue against Trump’s cancellation of our raises, which the president says will cost the United States $25 billion, it might cause you political pain. We get that, and we know you face a November election against Democrat Mallory Hagan. But we need to know that you, and the rest of the Alabama delegation, have our back. We need to hear your voice. We need your support.
Let us remind you, Rep. Rogers, what’s at stake here.
Hagan, your opponent, says there are roughly 10,000 federal civilian workers in the 3rd Congressional District who’d be affected by this cancellation. Everett Kelley, a former Anniston Army Depot worker who is now national vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told The Star that there would “probably be 1,500 to 2,000 people (in the Anniston area) who (would) lose a pay increase.” Federal workers, Kelley says, are making 5 percent less in real (dollar) terms than they did in 2011.
The president wrote to Congress, saying, “We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” We argue that the nation’s long list of questionable expenditures weaken the president’s claim that Washington can’t afford this planned and modest wage increase.
We also contend this is just as crucial as securing additional work orders for Anniston Army Depot or maintaining an appropriate annual budget appropriation for the Center for Domestic Preparedness. Improving the lives of the civilian federal workers in your district, and particularly in your home county, should be a duty you take seriously.
Federal civilian workers of your district