Huntsville union leader hopes President Trump reconsiders cutting federal employee raises

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Labor Day is a day to honor the nation's workforce and their contributions to the country, but while many federal employees celebrated, they were also worried.

Just before the national holiday, President Trump announced that their 1.9% pay raise in 2019 would be canceled.

AFGE Local 1858 is the largest union on Redstone Arsenal. Its president, Abner Merriweather, says he hopes President Trump reconsiders taking away this raise for federal employees.

Union leaders call President Trumps decision disappointing.

"We're calling on President Trump to reconsider the 1.9% increase," Merriweather said.

Federal employees make up a huge part of the Huntsville community.

"AFGE Local 1858 represents about 11,000 employees at Redstone. Total federal workers at Redstone is about 25,000, roughly 40,000 to include contractors," Merriweather explained.

Merriweather says the news impacted a wide range of people.

"We represent doctors, lawyers, astronauts, employees at NASA. We represent those employees as well the commissary, the food preparers, meat cutters. We represent all those employees," the union president said.

And, he doesn't want them to be negatively affected by the decision.

"That's a direct blow to federal workers across not just Redstone, but across the United States. We have already given our fair share to reduce the deficit," he proclaimed.

He says this isn't the first time in recent years federal employee raises have been on the chopping block.

"2008-2009 timeframe we had a pay freeze that was a total of three years...We have already paid our fair share of the deficit for deficit reduction. They've already done that...Nationwide we've already paid $9 billion," Merriweather said.

That's on a national scale. On a local level?

"Over a period of 4 years locally they have taken out, it will be $148 million they have taken out the Huntsville economy," theĀ AFGE union leader explained.

He would like the President to look somewhere else to make budget cuts instead of federal workers wallets.

"Corporate tax, take the money from there may be," he guessed.

Whether or not federal employees receive a raise is now in the hands of Congress. They will be voting on this later this month.

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