Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) reintroduced legislation that would help put an end to the persistent wage disparity at Tobyhanna Army Depot. As it stands now, white collar employees, served by the General Schedule (GS), are included in a more generous locality pay system than that of their blue collar counterparts, who are served by the Federal Wage System (FWS). Casey’s Locality Pay Equity Act would help put an end to this disparity by requiring OPM to treat all employees equally.
“All employees, regardless of pay schedule, should be treated equally,” said Senator Casey. “It’s long past time that we address this ongoing issue at Tobyhanna. Workers at Tobyhanna are serving our nation and deserve more fair treatment from the federal government. I’m confident that this legislation will help put an end to the disparity and create a more equitable compensation system.”
The Locality Pay Equity Act would address this issue by:
- Prohibiting the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from including more than one local wage area within a pay locality
- Remaining targeted in scope, exempting the “Rest of the United States” locality from the requirement
- Ensuring that no employee’s pay will be lowered as a result of the change
The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 establishes the process by which General Schedule salaries are computed. This process is intended to reflect regional economic conditions and provide higher locality pay rates for those working in areas with a higher cost of living. Though the process sets out to include careful consideration of a number of factors when setting wage parameters, there are cases where federal employees who work in the same location are paid based upon drastically different criteria.
Such is the case at Tobyhanna Army Depot. Currently, there exists a pay disparity between the General Schedule (GS) employees, who are included in the more generous New York Labor Market locality pay system, and the Federal Wage System (FWS) employees, who are not. This scenario produces instability in the workforce by dampening morale among affected employees who feel that they are being treated unequally with no justification.