AFGE Local’s Activism Leads to Locality Pay Increase in an Illinois County

Categories: Pay, The Insider

Thanks to the hard work of AFGE Local 4070 representing federal workers at Bureau of Prisons employees in Carroll County, Ill., the Federal Salary Council (FSC) has agreed to add the county to the Davenport-Moline, Iowa-Ill., locality pay area, bumping locality pay for 355 federal employees in the area. 

This is a huge victory for the local and these 355 employees because their county did not strictly meet the criteria for inclusion – the employees have been in a “Catch-22” situation because their pay is so low, BOP cannot recruit or retain adequate numbers of staff to reach the 400 General Schedule employee threshold that the FSC requires before approving a county as an “area of application” for an existing locality. If they got the higher pay, they’d have the 400 GS employees, but they can’t get or keep 400 employees until they get the higher pay. 

Local 4070 stepped up and tried to correct the situation. They enlisted support from their members of Congress – Sens. Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Reps. Cheri Bustos and Dave Loebsack – who wrote a letter to the FSC in support of the local’s position.  

“We started in July when management stated we didn’t have a chance,” explained Local 4070 President Jon Zumkehr. “We contacted Rep. Bustos, [AFGE Public Policy Director] Jacque Simon, and [District 7 National Vice President Dorothy James. The local worked together to get the data required. I also testified in front of the Federal Salary Council that USP Thomson is the lowest staffed prison in the BOP and we need help. We have 200 openings and our custody staffing is at 55%.”  

At its annual meeting on Oct. 21, the FSC approved Carroll County as an area of application to the Davenport-Moline locality in spite of the fact that there are only 355 GS employees in the county. The rationale was that there are more than 400 positions authorized, and if they were filled, the county would meet the criteria.  

Congratulations to AFGE Local 4070 for the job well done! 

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