Federal Wage Panel Votes to Recommend Increasing Wage Grade Pay in Monroe County, Tobyhanna Army Depot
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright announced that the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee (FPRAC) has voted to recommend moving federal facilities in Monroe County, Pennsylvania into the New York City wage area for the computation of pay for wage grade, hourly federal workers. If adopted by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the recommendation would increase pay for approximately 1,500 wage grade federal workers at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
FPRAC, a labor-management committee which advises the Director of OPM on policy matters pertaining to the Federal Wage System (FWS), voted 5-4 in favor of the motion on Monroe County during a hearing today. Sheldon Friedman, Chairman of FPRAC, broke a tie and voted “yes” on the grounds that the disparity in treatment between hourly and salaried workers at Tobyhanna Army Depot was inequitable.
Under the current policies, general schedule, or salaried employees, at Tobyhanna are treated as working within the New York City regional boundary. As a result, they receive a roughly 20-25% locality addition to their pay. However, hourly employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot are currently included in the Scranton wage area, which is part of a pay area known as the Rest of the US, meaning no locality increase.
Cartwright’s District Director, Robert Morgan, testified in front of the Committee today highlighting the need to replace the current outdated and unfair system, arguing that hourly and salaried workers live in the same places, travel the same highways, and buy lunch in the same places.
After the vote, Rep. Cartwright said, “The workers at Tobyhanna Depot deserve the same pay regardless of whether they are hourly or salaried. It’s time to fix this problem, and today’s recommendation is an important step. Now we need action by OPM.”
Cartwright indicated he would formally urge the OPM Director to adopt today’s FPRAC’s recommendation on Monroe County. The regional economic impact of raising wages for 1,500 Tobyhanna workers would be measured in the millions of dollars. One estimate placed the range at $5-10 million per year.