Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Enact Fair Wages for all Tobyhanna Depot Employees

Jun 21, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright introduced the Locality Pay Equity Act (H.R. 2450), legislation that would simplify, make fair, and raise pay rates for all workers at Tobyhanna Army Depot.  The legislation was introduced with the support of local U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10), a Republican, and three Democratic Representatives, Bob Brady (PA-01), Chaka Fattah (PA-02) and Allyson Schwartz (PA-13).

The legislation aims to solve a local labor market boundary issue that has resulted in wage computation disparity between wage scale or hourly employees and general schedule (GS) or salaried employees.

“The current wage inconsistency at Tobyhanna is an issue in which I have been interested since last year; the current system is dated and does not take into account current regional considerations and statistics,” said Cartwright.  “This legislation simply directs the Office of Personnel Management to fix this archaic system and level the playing field for all employees at Tobyhanna.”

Currently, hourly employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot are included in the Scranton wage area, which is part of a pay area known as the Rest of U.S. (RUS).  The RUS region represents all non-urban areas that include a minimal amount of federal employees.  However, general schedule employees at Tobyhanna have been placed in the New York City regional boundary, receiving a 25% pay differential (increased) rate.

In October 2010, the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) voted to end the practice of treating wage and salary federal employees at the same location differently with regard to the drawing of local labor market boundaries.  The new policy awaits approval by the OPM Director who must submit it for public review as a proposed regulation before final adoption.  The administration has cited the current federal employee pay freeze as an explanation for the long delay in approval of the regulation.  The Locality Pay Equity Act would only raise wages of hourly wage employees; it would not affect the general schedule (GS) salaried employees in any way.

“Treating hourly wage employees as if they are in one local labor market for purposes of base pay and annual pay adjustments and salaried workers as if they are in a different local labor market for purposes of setting pay is inconsistent and inequitable.  It violates basic standards of fairness,” said Cartwright.

The legislation would apply nationally.