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Rep. Cartwright Bill to Close Unfair Pay Gap at Tobyhanna Army Depot Again Passes House Through Annual Defense Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) voted to pass the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the U.S. House. For the second year in a row, the annual defense bill that Congress needs to pass each year includes Rep. Cartwright’s Locality Pay Equity Act, which would increase wages for approximately 1,800 hourly employees at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. Following a vote of 316-113, the bill advances to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“The momentum behind closing the unfair pay gap among workers at the Tobyhanna Army Depot and federal employees across the U.S. is growing every year,” said Rep. Cartwright. “In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Tobyhanna workers are at the forefront of preparing our military with state-of-the-art equipment for their missions, and they all deserve to be paid fairly for their work – whether they are paid a salary or by the hour. I will be keeping pressure on my Senate colleagues to also pass an NDAA with Locality Pay Equity Act provisions included.”

Under the current federal pay system, 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 included in the Scranton wage area, which is part of a locality pay area called “Rest of U.S.” (RUS). Salaried employees at Tobyhanna, however, have been placed in the New York City region. As a result, salaried employees earn 25 percent more than their wage-earning counterparts, although many of them do similar jobs.

The Locality Pay Equity Act would close this gap by applying the pay boundaries for salaried employees to hourly workers. This would only raise the wages of hourly employees; it would not affect the salaried employees in any way.

This legislation also passed the U.S. House in the previous Congress as part of the annual fiscal year 2021 defense bill but was removed from the final bill after negotiations with the Senate.

“Tobyhanna’s hourly employees are rightfully frustrated that this legislation hasn’t yet crossed the finish line. Advancing this bill has been an uphill battle from the start, but I’ve never stopped fighting for this pay gap fix because it is what they deserve,” continued Rep. Cartwright. “I’m proud that we have gotten it through the House once again, and I hope we can count on the Senate to do the right thing this year.”

A summary of the House-passed NDAA can be viewed HERE. The senate version of the annual defense bill is still being finalized.