Thousands of federal employees in 13 metropolitan areas should begin to receive salaries based on labor market conditions in their own cities starting January. This expansion of localities is the culmination of years of efforts by AFGE and the Federal Salary Council to make federal salaries more sensitive to local market criteria.
During a meeting today with Beth Cobert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, AFGE received assurances that new pay localities will be established in 13 cities in January.
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AFGE has been leading the fight for several years to provide federal employees in these cities with salaries that are more closely aligned with regional standards. We are delighted that the administration has supported this initiative and come through with its commitment to have the new localities in place starting next year. Federal employees nationwide have suffered terribly from pay freezes and below-market salaries. This is tremendous news and will help so many middle class families pay their bills.
The 13 cities are: Albany, N.Y.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Colorado Springs, Co.; Davenport, Iowa; Harrisburg, Pa.; Kansas City, Mo.; Laredo, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Palm Bay, Fla.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Tucson, Ariz.
The number of pay localities has not been expanded for several years, despite Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that employees in these 13 metropolitan areas are earning significantly less than non-federal employees doing the same jobs.
The President’s Pay Agent, a group of three agency officials who advise the president on federal pay issues, tentatively approved establishing the new pay localities in a report published in May 2013. The new zones should have been put in place by the start of 2014, yet the administration has failed to act until now.
AFGE has seats on the Federal Salary Council, an advisory body appointed by the president that makes recommendations concerning the locality pay program to the President’s Pay Agent, which comprises the Secretary of Labor and the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management.