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Hundreds of members of a federal workers union are lobbying Congress this week to avert the sequester, keeping those workers on the job full time and preventing the service cuts that threaten to affect the lives of millions of travelers, seniors, students, poor people and others. But while the effects of the sequester will be widespread, for many of us it's a question mark how much we'll feel it, how hard and how fast. For these federal workers, it's pretty clear: They face along the lines of a 20 percent pay cut.

According to a survey by the National Treasury Employees Union:

[...] 82 percent of respondents said they would have difficulty paying for rent, utilities and food expenses, while 63 percent said they would need to take money out of savings or retirement accounts to make ends meet.

“There’s a lot of fear,” [NTEU President Colleen] Kelley said. “Employees think this is going to happen based on what has happend to date, with there being no resolution. They feel like they’re caught in the middle, just doing their jobs and serving the American people.”

For sure there would be a lot of fear if you were looking at tapping into your savings because your pay got cut by 20 percent. And there might be anger, too, if you considered that this was happening because Republicans in Congress want to protect tax loopholes for giant corporations, and was happening on top of a pay freeze and increases in retirement contributions for new employees which, Kelley has reminded members of Congress in a letter, have already created $103 billion in government savings on the backs of these workers. The union says it will bargain over how the furloughs are implemented.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:14 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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