This is My Story: Patriot, Civil Servant, Veteran

This proposal stinks to think that my pay has to be frozen to reduce the deficit. I work two jobs to make a living I am a GS4 Medical Support Assistant with the Dept. of the Army. The past ten years I have not seen an increase in my take home pay with any of the pitiful pay raises that have been grudgingly to me. The reason for this, with every pay raise, the rise in the cost of my insurance premiums is such that I experience a net loss in my take home pay. I would opt out of health insurance and solely use the VA to which I am entitled but my daughter cannot use this medical service. I am a Service connected,  disabled Combat Veteran, who for the last three years has seen no Cost of Living Allowance increase on this benefit, because the Consumer price index used to measure inflation doesn’t track things like the cost of food, gasoline, or housing; the only real extravagant expenditures I am able to afford on my “exorbitant” salary. The physical pain I endure to go to work every day, to help the Service Members engaged in this ongoing war against the forces that would do us harm; can’t be eased by more compensation but is readily addressed by the VA with an abundant supply of Narcotic pain medication. The insurance carrier I use in the FEHB program once they started receiving claims from the VA only wanted to send subjugation forms to see if they can weasel out of paying any associated cost of my health care, after receiving years of my premiums.

Every time I go to the grocery store it cost more money for fewer more expensive items, the pain at the gas pumps increases every time, my rent goes up because the active duty Service Members received an increase in their Basic Housing Allowance. They can easily make more money from them than from some old tired Patriotic, Civil Servant, and Veteran. Maybe I can get a third job to help offset these increases. How silly of me to give up that third and fourth job I used to work in early 2007 because the 90- 100 hours of work a week was taking a toll on my health. After all there are 168 hours in a week that can be worked who needs the luxury of sleep.

This year I will achieve 30 years of Federal service but alas I am 6 years too young to retire. I never took a position with the Federal Government with the intention of getting rich all I needed was a living wage and the quiet satisfaction that I had fulfilled my Patriotic Duty to utilize my talents to serve my Great Country, to the best of my abilities. The path to riches would have been easier to steal my money the old-fashioned way, as a Politician, a Government Contractor, or a Wall Street Investment Banker. I have applied for several other jobs in the Federal service but due to my Service Connected Disabilities, and fewer opportunities at Education I had the VEAP program, not the better old GI Bill, or the new Improved GI Bill, during my armed service. I now find myself unable to compete with the available applicants who didn’t have to bother themselves with Military Service to attain higher education. I did manage to attain an Associate degree in General Occupational Technology. I am a Ten Point Veteran and I am unable to even make the list for the over 30 positions I have applied for over the last year, even more disturbing is the fact that 11 of these jobs were for the one I currently have been assigned and received a block one excellent rating for the 2009-2010 time frame. I am unqualified to receive Veteran Vocational Rehabilitative Services due to a low disability rating and I guess my age. This leads me to consider if going out on disability from Civil Service may not be my best option after all according to the information I have researched and current federal regulations it would seem more feasible to make more money a month than I currently receive working for it. This coupled with the fact that advancement in the Federal Government seems futile I feel like the lady who addressed the President earlier this year when she asked him “Is this it? Is this my new reality?”.

The only bright spot has been my involvement with my Local of AFGE, where my brothers and sisters of the local elected me as Main Unit Vice President and to a seat on the Executive Council, where I also Chair the Audit Committee, sit on the Budget, and Organizing Committees. This has renewed my sense of service not to the Customers I service in my job, but the fellow Employees who like me are struggling to make a living in this post Wall Street Financial Disaster Economy that saw the culprit’s misdeeds were rewarded with financial bailouts of our tax dollars. I do know that if I had performed this poorly and caused such monetary harm to my employer I would have been fired. Unlike my job when I am told there is no money to give me a bonus for my excellent job performance, many of these afore-mentioned nefarious individuals received generous taxpayer bonuses for their roles in the Economic meltdown. Hopefully our Leaders may take a look at this and many other issues affecting the average middle class Government worker who as reported by the CBS Evening News make $ 116,000 a year, (don’t know any and I am certainly not one) that freezing my pay is not the solution to the problem.

I have served this Nation longer than all but a few of our elected leaders and have been shot a more times than all but a few of our elected leaders. I am not a member of the Aristocracy and Entitled chosen few, I am an American who has chosen to instead serve militarily, and now serve selflessly for America. I have sacrificed, I have given, and I have felt the pain of my decision to work for the Government. The two groups I belong to are Government Workers and members of AFGE, secondly Veterans, these two groups can and do vote with regularity and consistency. While the second group Veterans comprises 9% of our general population, they represent 13% of the voting bloc. Ironically though, they are the only group trained and experienced to, overthrow a Government by force.

Jacob Baker
AFGE Local 1770
Department of ARMY, North Carolina

About Union Blog

a blog for AFGE's members and employees to communicate their opinions in a forum with each other
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2 Responses to This is My Story: Patriot, Civil Servant, Veteran

  1. marc says:

    Have you written/emailed your elected officials? If not you better do so, as AFGE’s inaction has helped to put us in the position we are in.

  2. Jim Perkins says:

    I agree. Contact your congressman and voice your concern.

    Jim
    AFGE Local 1592
    Utah

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