Federal union campaign targets GOP policy

WASHINGTON: The American Federation of Government Employees has launched a campaign to fight what it sees as Republican efforts to reduce federal wages and pensions.

WASHINGTON: The American Federation of Government Employees has launched a campaign to fight what it sees as Republican efforts to reduce federal wages and pensions.

“Federal employees have already contributed $50 million to reduce the deficit, and now they are being asked to sacrifice even more,” said Enid Doggett, communications director at the organization. Republicans in Congress have proposed paying for a payroll tax-relief extension by freezing federal employee salaries for another year.

The unique challenge for the campaign was putting it together in a handful of weeks to ensure the organization's voice was heard during discussions about the 2013 federal budget, said Doggett.

“The hope is that we will able to turn the tide with Congress,” said Doggett. “We think people need a deeper understanding of what federal employees do for America.” The union developed the $100,000 campaign in-house.

Media outreach for the campaign has targeted both regional and national publications, including Newsweek and The New York Times. It also created the ExplainItToMeGOP.org site to further promote the union's viewpoint. It is also using YouTube and a blog.

During AFGE´s annual Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference this week, members also had the opportunity to meet with their congressional representatives.

The integrated campaign also includes a heavy advertising component that features federal employees, such as a Veterans Affairs nurse and a corrections employee. Each asks Republican lawmakers to explain how cutting federal pay and benefits would help put Americans back to work.

A spokesperson for the US House Republican Conference did not return inquiries seeking comment on the campaign.

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