More than 10,000 workers in federal pay freeze

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – President Obama is proposing no pay raises for most federal employees for the next two years.  Monday he said the move will save $2 billion year and $5 billion the year after.

The two-year pay freeze affects millions of federal workers across the country and right here in Central Virginia.

In a capital city so close to the nation's capital, it's not difficult to think of a federal agency close to home.  From Fort Lee to the VA hospital, US government employment is plentiful.  In fact, the paychecks of more than 10,000 workers in our area might not change for the next two years.

"Getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," President Barack Obama said at Monday's press conference.

That includes the 3,600 civilian employees at Fort Lee.  By NBC12's count, they make up the largest group to feel the pain of the cost cutting announcement.

The Defense Supply Center makes up another large chunk. The 2,931 civilian employees there wouldn't see an increase in their paychecks.

Add to that the 2,300 workers affected at the VA hospital, combined with those who work for Housing and Urban Development and the 700 employees at the Petersburg Correctional Institution.

The 43 rangers and staff at the Richmond National Battlefield Park along with the 39 at the Petersburg park are included on the list.  No one at those agencies wanted to talk to on camera.  They said they'd only be speculating because nothing is set in stone. They want to assure the public though, no services will be affected.

Those exempt are post office employees, military personnel, government contractors and federal court workers.

According to one study, government employees' pay has increased much faster than those workers in the private sector, leading to a huge disparity in the compensation levels for similar jobs.

If you're wondering about workers at the Federal Reserve in Richmond, they are not government employees so won't be included.

GOP Whip and local representative Eric Cantor came out in support of the measure Monday.  At this point though, it is just a proposal and must still be approved by Congress.

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