Federal Employees:
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Who We Are

NTEU is the nation’s largest independent federal union, representing more than 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments. Learn more about us.

They Got it Right!

check"As budget talks continue, we must recognize the $103 billion contribution that federal employees have already made, and ensure that future deficit reduction asks everyone to contribute his fair share toward building a better future for our country."

–House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) in a Dec. 9 op-ed in Federal Times.

“If you pass on to the next generation a federal workforce that is not really up to 21st Century tasks because it has been underpaid and under-invested in for many years, that’s compromising our children, as well.”                                

–Lawrence Summers
Former Secretary of the Treasury and former director of the National Economic Council, in response to a question after an Oct. 11, 2012, speech to the Center for American Progress.

“[S]equestration would have a devastating impact on important defense and nondefense programs… sequestration would undermine investments vital to economic growth, threaten the safety and security of the American people and cause severe harm to programs that benefit the middle-class, seniors, and children.”

Office of Management and Budget report released Sept. 14


“Even though federal employees have made significant contributions in serious ways … [some in Congress] continue to want to come back to the federal workforce like it’s a piggy bank for deficit reduction and at a certain point that’s not fair.”

– Rep. John Sarbanes. Hear the full Aug. 27 interview with Federal News Radio

Survey Shows Support
For Federal Employees

A strong majority of Americans value highly the services provided by the government workforce and believe the wealthy in the country should pay their fair share before sharp cuts are made in federal agency resources and in the number of employees providing those services. These are among the key findings of a survey conducted for NTEU by the polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs.

See the Survey Results: Get NTEU Survey Data from Ipsos

They WorkforUs

Hot Issues

Wealthy Should Pay More Before Making Harmful Cuts to Public Services, Opinion Survey Finds

NTEU Effort Draws Connection to Positive Links Between Federal Workers and People’s Lives

Kelley Demands Full Apology from Gov. LePage for ‘Gestapo’ Remark

Kelley Applauds Tonko Effort on Contractor Reimbursement Cap

NTEU in the News

Debunking Myths, The Morning Blend (Tuscon, Ariz.), Aug. 23, 2012

WHAM, Rochester, N.Y.

WTMJ, Milwaukee, Wis.

KMTV, Omaha, Neb.

XETV, San Diego, Calif.

Survey aims to debunk myths about feds, Federal Daily News, Aug. 21, 2012

Americans would prefer higher taxes on the wealthy before cuts to some services, survey says, Washington Post/Federal Eye, Aug. 20, 2012

NTEU: Public actually wants more gov’t spending, employees, Federal Times, Aug. 20, 2012

Public wants more government spending, GovExec, Aug. 20, 2012

Survey says? Americans want taxes raised on wealthy before federal budget cuts, Washington Examiner, Aug. 20, 2012  

Helpful Links

NTEU website

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Office of Personnel Management

Say What?

If you hear misinformation about federal employees in the media or from a member of Congress, let us know. We may rebut it on this page.

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While the election may be over, NTEU will continue to monitor statements that misrepresent the dedicated federal employees who serve our nation each and every day and will update this website whenever necessary to set the record straight about the federal workforce.


Federal employees deserve better than lies and mischaracterizations.
This page aims to set the record straight.

See the full quotes and detailed NTEU responses.

Romney Unionization Comments About SEC
In answering a question about “cleaning house” at the Securities and Exchange Commission, presidential candidate Gov. Romney said: ““I wish they weren’t unionized, so we could go a lot deeper than you’re actually allowed to go.”

FactThe economic meltdown that devastated our nation just about four years ago demonstrates it is critically important and in the consumers’ interest for the Securities and Exchange Commission to have appropriate authority and an experienced and knowledgeable frontline workforce free from undue influences. Learn more


Reduce the Federal Workforce by 10 Percent
In a speech to U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney said he will look to reduce federal workforce by 10 percent.

FactGov. Romney is targeting working people in order to provide even greater tax cuts to our nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. In his latest attack on middle class federal workers, the governor repeated his call to reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent. However, cutting the federal workforce would undermine the services that the American people depend on and want. Learn more


Cut the Federal Workforce by 10 Percent?
The platform for the Republican Party calls for reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent.

FactWith many agencies already lacking the necessary staffing and resources, cutting the federal workforce would undermine the services the American people depend on and want. Learn more


Send Them Home?
At a recent campaign event in Colorado, presumptive presidential nominee former Gov. Mitt Romney said,“We have 145,000 more government workers under this president. Let’s send them home and put you back to work.”

FactIn reality, the proportion of federal employees to American citizens is lower than it has been in decades. For example, in 1953, there was one federal worker for every 78 residents, while there is only one for every 148 today. Yet, demands and expectations of federal workers continue to grow. Meanwhile, agencies are struggling to fulfill critical duties and serve the American people with inadequate staffing levels. Learn more


scissors"Unfairness" of Federal Pay and Benefits?
Following recent primary victories, former Gov. Mitt Romney said, “We will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve."

FactFormer Gov. Romney’s comments indicate that
cutting pay and benefits for middle-class federal workers would be at the top of his agenda to address “unfairness,” despite the vital services they provide our nation and despite the fact they are facing the same economic challenges as their fellow Americans. Learn more


Shrink Federal Workforce and Cut Federal Pay?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz wrote in an editorial that he wants to “reduce the size and scope of the federal workforce” and “bring federal compensation in line with the private sector.”

FactRep. Chaffetz ignores the fact that the federal workforce is as small today as it has been in the modern era. He also uses misleading data about federal compensation, while ignoring more reliable analysis showing that federal workers are paid less than comparable private sector employees. Learn more.


Flip Flop on the Importance of Work at the FDA
MicroscopeWithin a single breath, former Gov. Mitt Romney criticizes federal employees as “bureaucrats who work in Washington” for looking for “things they can do,” and for “places they can interfere,” but then criticizes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for taking too long to approve medical devices.

FactIf ensuring the safety of medical devices is “interfering,” NTEU is sure all citizens who seek medical care welcome such “interference.” While the FDA has faced chronic underfunding and insufficient staffing for years, its dedicated employees continue to work vigilantly to keep the American people safe.  Learn more.


Immune From the Recession?
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan says that federal employees are “immune from the effects of the recession.”

FactFederal workers are middle-class Americans and suffering from the same economic pressures as everyone else including rising gas prices, increased health care costs, spouses and family members who are unemployed, all of this on top of a two-year pay freeze. In fact, a charity that aids federal workers has seen a 200 percent increase in assistance requests in the last year alone.Learn more


Ask Federal Employees to Sacrifice as Well?
Sen. Jon Kyl: “Federal employees on average make a whole lot more than people in the private sector. I think it’s fair to ask federal employees to make a sacrifice as well.”

FactFederal employees are already making a $60 billion contribution over 10 years to shrinking our deficit. As noted by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, federal workers should not be “singled out as a piggy bank.Learn more


Bureaucrats Enjoy Significant Advantages?
House Budget Committee (Chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan): "…government bureaucrats in Washington continue to enjoy significant advantages over those whose tax dollars finance their compensation."

FactGovernment employees, most of whom live outside Washington, D.C., are middle-class Americans who have not had a pay increase in two years. They guard our borders, keep our food safe, care for our veterans and Americans with disabilities and so much more. Learn more


Fire Left-Leaning Employees?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wants to get rid of federal employees “who are ideologically so far to the left or those people who want to dictate to the rest of us.”

FactFederal employees do not create policy, but only implement the policies set forth by Congress and the administration. Learn more


Higher Pay than Taxpayers?
Dollar SignFormer Gov. Mitt Romney: “People who are government servants, public servants should not be paid more than the taxpayers who are paying for it”

This is an often-repeated statement but it is wrong. People who use this statement back it up by comparing the entire private-sector workforce against the federal workforce. But the two workforces are not the same with the private sector having many more employees in lower-wage service jobs.  Learn more


Reduce the Federal Workforce?
ScissorsFormer Gov. Mitt Romney:
“The first step in returning to an Opportunity Society is scaling back our vast federal government.”

FactUnderstaffing and underfunding the government would degrade the quality and availability of services the American people expect and depend on as part of their everyday lives. Learn more


Reassigned to a God-Awful Place?
Gov: Rick Perry:
"I don’t think you can fire federal bureaucrats, but you can reassign them. So, but reassign them to some really God-awful place."

Federal employees can indeed be fired for failing to implement policies established by political leaders. Learn more


A Better Deal?
Former Gov. Mitt Romney
: "Public servants shouldn't get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for … The American people are increasingly working to support the government. It ought to be the other way around."

FactFederal employees are paid 26 percent less than those with comparable private sector jobs. Learn more


StethoscopeFree Pensions and Health Care?
Sen. Rand Paul: "Maybe these government unions are going to have to contribute to their pension, maybe they’re going to have to pay something for their health care..."

FactFederal employees contribute to both their health care and their pensions. Learn more


ice cubeDouble the Pay?
Sen. Scott Brown: "We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts."

FactFederal employees are paid, on average, 26 percent less than comparable workers in the private sector. Learn more


A Wave of Early Retirements?
Knoxville News Sentinel (10/7/11): "As much as American lifespans have increased, we simply cannot afford to allow people to
draw federal pensions at such young ages."

FactThe vast majority of federal employees retire at the same age as private sector workers. Learn more

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