Casey Presses Administration on Tobyhanna Wage Disparity

Some Workers Receive Less Pay for Similar Work Because They Aren’t Included in New York Labor Market / Despite Promises, Office of Personnel Management Has Refused to Resolve Bureaucratic Maze that Creates Pay Disparity / In Letter, Casey Demands Quick Resolution to Issue that Continues to Plague Workers

Casey Presses Administration on Tobyhanna Wage Disparity

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) pressed the Administration on efforts to end the persistent wage disparity at Tobyhanna Army Depot. Despite promises the Administration has failed to address why some Tobyhanna workers are included in the New York labor market and others who perform similar work are not. This different classification creates a wage disparity because those not classified in the New York labor market receive less pay. In a letter to the heads of the government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Casey demanded a quick resolution to the wage disparity issue.

“Workers at Tobyhanna are serving our nation and deserve more from the federal government than a persistent wage disparity,” Senator Casey said. “OPM has been reviewing this issue for far too long. It’s time for action. The Administration should move quickly to ensure that Tobyhanna’s workers are receiving fair pay.”

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 increasingly 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.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:

Dear Director Archuleta and Chairman Friedman:

I write today regarding the wage disparity issue at Tobyhanna Army Depot.  On multiple occasions prior to the start of Director Archuleta tenure, I have expressed concern in relation to this issue.  Though there has been contact, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has supplied limited information and updates on this issue to date.  As a result, the matter remains unresolved and I continue to hear from a number of my constituents with legitimate concerns.

As you are aware, 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, we increasingly see 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. I regret that, to date, OPM has failed to implement a solution and restore fairness to the pay treatment of these workers.

This issue is important to thousands of Pennsylvanians.  As I have conveyed in past correspondence to the OPM, the ongoing disparity impacts the workforce with affected employees left to feel that they are being treated unequally without justification.

I ask for your immediate attention in providing a timely response from OPM to ensure equality and stability in our workforce.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

###

Press Contact

John Rizzo and Alex Miller 202-228-6367