Federal employees in four metropolitan areas will receive a locality pay raise next year to account for large pay gaps with non-federal employers. These four areas are Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, Ala.; Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; San Antonio-New Braunfels-Pearsall, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va. Tens of thousands of federal employees live in these areas.
The raise was a recommendation by the Federal Salary Council, on which AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. and Public Policy Director Jacque Simon serve. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced in the Federal Register that it’s adding the four areas to its list of locality pay areas for 2019.
“This is a tremendous victory for our union. OPM tried to ignore the Federal Salary Council’s action but ultimately gave in to our relentless pressure,” said Simon. “We are so happy that these federal employees will finally get the locality pay the deserve.”
All four areas have pay gaps that are more than 10 percentage points above the pay gap for the “Rest of U.S.” locality area, which is the current criteria for establishing new pay localities. President Trump has proposed a pay freeze for 2019, but the Senate Appropriations Committee recently voted for a 1.9% increase for next year. The President, however, gets to decide what portion of the overall raise is devoted to locality adjustments.
Federal employees who receive locality pay are those living in high costs areas where agencies are finding it hard to recruit and retain workers because federal wages are not competitive.
The Federal Salary Council earlier this year also recommended adding Omaha, Nebraska, and Corpus Christi, Texas, to the locality pay list. Your union is urging the administration to implement the recommendation and help close the pay gap.