As a former New York City civil servant (and union member IBEW local #3 City Electricians) I can say that these "civilian" Federal workers likely haven't had a pay raise in at least 3 years. The reason, quite simply (especially if you're a Union member ) is that no aspect of Government bargains In "Good faith." Here in New York, both the state and most municipalities have "laws" to prevent labor unions and their members from going on strike. The state and local governments "hold up" wage negotiations for years. If the union or it's members do go on strike, they risk heavy fines and even jail time for doing so. So, while "private" labor sector gets raises annually, 3 or even 4 years go by before any Government employee gets a raise. By the time the employees get their raise, two things have happened. The "contract" has ALREADY EXPIRED as the negotiations began 3 or 4 years ago and the government owes them Thousands of dollars in "retroactive" pay. Which these governments hand over in one lump sum. The TAX RATE for such a payment is WAY HIGHER than that of the employees weekly pay. As high as 1/2 the "normal" tax rate. This also adds to the employees yearly income. Making the tax burden even higher. So the employee gets "beat" and actually gets about 2/5th's the money owed them. A % 2.3 raise, over all, does not meet the average "COLA" (Cost of living adjustment) as prescribed by the Government's own calculations. So yeah, I support this raise. But the "Retroactive pay," should be handed out at a "flat tax" rate of no more that 2/5th's of the total amount. In addition, the Government should be bargaining at least a year PRIOR to the end of any contract and doing so in good faith. For non union employees, a 5 year pay raise plan (equal to the COLA for the previous year,) should be enacted. With a Guarantee of no less than a %3.0 raise per year.