Amid shutdown, Trump signs order freezing federal workers’ 2019 pay

“As if missed paychecks and working without pay were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase.”

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As if the partial government shutdown during the holidays wasn’t enough, President Trump signed an executive order Friday that freezes federal workers’ pay, making them ineligible to receive a pay increase in 2019.

The new executive order cancels a schedules 2.1 percent pay raise for 1.8 million non-military federal workers. Trump says the move will “put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course.”

“This is just pouring salt into the wound,” says Tony Reardon, President of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents over 100,000 federal workers. “As if missed paychecks and working without pay were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase.”

Trump’s declaration that the government can’t afford to give a scheduled pay raise to federal workers comes less than a year after he passed a $1.5 trillion tax law that gives massive tax cuts to America’s super-wealthy and corporations, plus contributes to a 17 percent jump in the federal deficit for 2018.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have already been furloughed or working without pay this month after the government partially shut down for failing to reach an agreement on funding Trump’s border wall. Although many federal workers could receive back pay when the government reopens, many government contractors won’t have the same benefits. As Vox noted:

“As many as 2,000 subcontractors in federal buildings including janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers are not only experiencing a sharp break in their work schedules, they also won’t be compensated for this pause. Government employees typically receive back pay after the shutdown is over, but contractors are paid directly by companies that can’t bill the government for services when it’s shut down. Because these companies won’t get paid, they, in turn, aren’t able to pay their workers.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration suggests that federal workers do odd jobs such as “painting” or “carpentry” to help cover their bills while they wait:

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