Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
New Yorkers who work for the federal government have mixed reactions to President Obama's plan, announced Monday, for a two-year wage freeze.
Department of Labor employee Evelyn Chung said she doesn't mind doing her part to reduce the deficit.
"I think that, you know, public employees all understand the need to chip in and help out during this hard time. I'd certainly rather be in this position than in the private sector right now."
But others are upset about the President's plan. One worker, who wouldn't give her name because of fears about her job, said her sacrifice should be shared.
"We don't mind having our pay not getting a cost of living increase, but we do think the Republicans who want to extend the tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires should also recognize that is grossly unfair and unnecessary."
All federal civilian employees are slated to have their pay frozen. Military personnel are exempt under the plan.
The union representing the largest number of federal workers, including more than 31,000 employees in New York, said President Obama's plan is wrong. Derrick Thomas of the American Federation of Government Employees said while his members will suffer without raises, the effect of the wage freeze on the estimated $14 trillion deficit will be slight.
"On the backs of workers, you know, we are going to try to balance the federal budget. But it's not going to make any, any, any significant dip in the budget at all."
Thomas says federal employees are concerned about rising health costs without cost of living increases.
The average salary of the union's members is around $54,000. Thomas' union and others hope to work with Congress to avert the freeze.
The White House estimates the pay freeze will save an estimated $2 billion for the remainder of this budget year.