Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright Re-Introduces Legislation to Address Disparate Pay between Wage Grade and Grade Scale Employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot

Jan 27, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Last week, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced the bi-partisan Wage Grade Employee Parity Act with U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-4). 

The legislation would ensure that the percentage increase in rates of basic pay for Wage Grade, or hourly, employees is equivalent to the percentage increase received by General Schedule, or salaried, federal employees. 

Current law provides the President with the ability to give a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase to salaried federal employees.  However, he does not have the legal authority to provide the same to hourly federal workers.

If passed, this legislation would give the President the ability to provide the same pay increase to both hourly and salary federal employees.

During the 113th Congress, language from the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act, providing hourly federal workers a 1% pay increase, was included in three separate spending bills that were signed into law.

This legislation would affect nearly 2,000 hourly employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot, located in Pennsylvania’s 17th District, as well as employees at the Social Security Administration office, and the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.

“If we are to reduce income inequality in this country, the federal government must lead by example.  By giving our blue collar workers the same raises as our white collar workers every year, we are valuing the hard work of all civilians serving their country,” said Rep. Cartwright.

Rep. Cartwright continued, “The importance of recognizing the critical role civilian employees play cannot be underestimated.  Federal employees have been underappreciated and undervalued for far too long.  While I wish we could do more, an equitable cost of living increase recognizes their value while also recognizing the tight budget constraints we are under and creates parity with salaried federal workers.  For this reason, I am proud to re-introduce this legislation, along with Representative Cole, which aims to provide parity within the federal workforce.” 

There are over 174,000 hourly employees who work for the Department of Defense (DOD) including nearly 2,000 hourly employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot.  Other agencies with significant numbers include the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

“I am pleased to join again with Congressman Cartwright and several colleagues to introduce the Wage Grade Employee Parity Act,” said Rep. Cole.  “Regardless of the pay system, this bipartisan legislation ensures that the same cost of living adjustments (COLA) will be extended to all federal employees.  This not only provides COLA parity within the federal workforce, but it helps retain key personnel who provide invaluable support across major areas of our government, including the Department of Defense.”