Our federal employees have sacrificed enough

While leaders are thinking about ways to avoid the fiscal cliff, I feel compelled to speak out on behalf of dedicated public servants as president of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 154. Nearly every American will be affected by sequestration cuts and a cliff dive, but one group is being singled out for far-reaching sacrifice at a time when it has already contributed more than any other group toward deficit reduction. Our country’s federal workers are facing relentless threats to their pay and benefits. Here in Buffalo, our union represents Customs and Border Protection employees who serve the public by protecting our nation’s security.

Singling those employees out for more savings is not only unwarranted but outright unfair. The anti-fiscal cliff proposals currently being offered by critics of the public sector seek to slash staffing, reduce benefits and make other drastic cuts. It’s time to share the responsibility.

Most Americans don’t realize that federal employees have already contributed, through frozen pay and increased pension contributions, more than $100 billion toward economic recovery. Other groups have not even been asked to contribute as nearly as much. Looking to the federal workforce, which like many Americans suffers from the effects of a slow economy, for additional deficit-reduction solutions simply does not make sense.

Fairness and shared sacrifice are vital components to any compromise and they must be etched in the final anti-fiscal cliff blueprint.

Paul Kwiatkowski