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Cartwright Bill to Close Pay Gap at Tobyhanna Army Depot Passes House as Part of Annual Defense Bill

Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) voted to pass the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the House floor, which passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 295-125. The NDAA includes Cartwright’s Locality Pay Equity Act, which would increase wages for approximately 1,800 hourly employees at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. It now advances to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“I have been pushing to close the unfair pay gap at the Tobyhanna Army Depot for years, and for the first time, our annual defense bill includes my legislation to do just that,” Cartwright said. “At Tobyhanna, they make technologies that keep our military ahead of global threats, and all the workers there deserve to be paid fairly for their labor. It’s so important that we get these provisions passed in the Senate and signed into law. This year’s defense bill honors our commitment to all the men and women who make our armed forces the best in the world, and I’m proud to support it.”

Under the current pay scale system for military depot employees, the locality boundaries for salaried workers are based on metropolitan markets, while the boundaries for hourly workers are still based on 1950s era military installation placements. This has led to a significant pay gap at the Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Hourly employees at Tobyhanna are in the Scranton locality wage area, which is part of a locality pay area called “Rest of U.S.” (RUS). Salaried workers at Tobyhanna, however, are included in the New York City region, meaning they earn approximately 25 percent more than their wage-earning counterparts.

Cartwright’s bill in the FY21 NDAA would close this gap by applying the pay boundaries for salaried workers to hourly employees. This would only raise the wages of hourly employees; it would not affect the salaried employees in any way.

In total, the NDAA authorizes over $731.6 billion in discretionary spending, including $69 billion for overseas operations. FY21 NDAA highlights:

  • Authorizes a 3 percent military pay raise, protecting their health by cleaning up PFAS “forever” chemicals, investing in housing improvements for military members and families, and advancing justice in safety with improvements to sexual assault prevention and response;
  • Makes important fixes to expand paid parental leave for certain federal civilian employees inadvertently omitted originally;
  • Strengthens our nation’s defenses to pandemics, including with a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, boosts America’s industrial base resilience, helps Maritime Security Program carriers keep ships fully crewed during COVID-19, supports NATO’s multinational response to the pandemic, and provides funds to the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program with an increased focus on cooperative biological engagement to detect and confront biological threats; and
  • Requires DOD to identify, report on a process and change the names of all military bases and infrastructure named for individuals who took up arms against America by serving in the Confederacy, with the process to be completed in one year, and prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense installations;

A full bill summary can be viewed here. The full bill text can be viewed here.