Lawmakers Introduce Locality Pay Equity Act to Address Wage Disparities

US Senate© tupungato / Getty Images / Canva

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) introduced the Locality Pay Equity Act on Wednesday, a bill aimed at ending persistent wage disparities at Tobyhanna Army Depot and Letterkenny Army Depot. The legislation requires the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to ensure equal treatment of all employees working at the same locations.

The bill addresses significant pay gaps between federal employees under the Federal Wage System (FWS) and those on the General Schedule (GS). The discrepancies stem from antiquated FWS wage area boundaries, drawn mainly after World War II, which don’t accurately reflect current commuting rates and job market considerations like the GS locality boundaries do.

“Every worker deserves to be treated fairly, regardless of pay schedule, and time has long past for us to address this issue at Tobyhanna and Letterkenny,” Senator Casey said. He highlighted the need for a fairer compensation system to end these pay disparities.

Representative Matt Cartwright echoed these sentiments, praising the workers at Tobyhanna Army Depot for their contributions to American defense capabilities. He criticized the “outdated and unfair federal pay system” that has disadvantaged these workers for years and advocated for fairness in pay as part of supporting these workers.

Randy Erwin, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, called it “fundamentally unfair” that federal employees working side-by-side, for the same employer, and in the same location, are paid different wages. He endorsed the Locality Pay Equity Act as a means to correct these pay inequities.

Philip W. Glover, District 3, National Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees (PA/DE), applauded Senator Casey for his continued advocacy for the federal workforce and for championing pay equality between General Schedule and Wage Grade workers.

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The Locality Pay Equity Act seeks to prohibit the OPM from including more than one local wage area within a pay locality. It also ensures that no employee’s pay will be lowered due to these changes. The bill has garnered co-sponsorship from U.S. Senators John Fetterman (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

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