With President Obama safely re-elected to a second term, federal workers feel comfortable to make their demands known. As debate rages over lowering the federal deficit, they want a pay raise.

As CNN’s Money magazine reports:

[Union president Colleen M.] Kelley said her No. 1 issue right now is getting federal worker salaries unfrozen on Jan. 1, even if that means working out a deal later in the year and making pay hikes retroactive to Jan. 1.

In the midst of that, federal workers are also nervous about the fiscal cliff , which includes $1.2 trillion worth of spending cuts over a decade if Congress fails to act by Jan. 1. Some 277,000 workers — 14% of the federal work force — could lose their jobs in the next 12 months if the U.S. cannot avoid the cliff, according to a study by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

A recent study by two scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation showed that the average federal employee currently makes significantly more than their private sector counterparts. As the authors wrote in the Wall Street Journal this past April, two additional studies supported their analysis.

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