A Senate barbershop subsidized by the government is a sore point with GOP members.

Former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., blames the money woes on the stylists, who are federal employees. He contends they’re overpaid compared to their private-sector counterparts.

“They are using union labor, and so their benefits and wages are higher than those of many jobs,” Fitzgerald said.

To support his argument, Fitzgerald contrasts the salaries and benefits of the Senate’s stylists to what is offered by Capitol Barber, three blocks away.

Capitol’s four barbers and stylists made $22,000 to $30,000 last year with no benefits, manager Lynn Dang said. At the Senate barbershop, formally called Senate Hair Care Services, the top four barbers and stylists made more than twice that — $54,761; $70,349; $73,658; and $81,641 — plus they have a generous 401(k) plan, health care and paid vacation. In all, the government contributed $230,000 in benefits for the barbershop, said Eve Goldsher, a spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Continue reading →