The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has approved a union-backed plan to increase wages for federal blue-collar employees at Minot Air Force Base and surrounding locations. AFGE has pressured the Department of Defense and OPM for two years to step up and match private-sector rates in the area, which have risen significantly in recent years.
The special rates being established will boost wages by as much as 30 percent for employees in 17 skilled trades occupations, including mechanics, electricians, and drill rig operators. The OPM action, announced March 18, follows a similar union-backed increase in December that raised wages for about 100 employees at Minot who are paid through non-appropriated funds.
Without the sustained efforts of AFGE, the government would have been content to keep federal pay rates far, far below private-sector standards. This is a tremendous win for federal workers in the Bakken region, and it shows what can be accomplished when AFGE activists mobilize to fight for better living standards.
AFGE will continue to pressure OPM for similar increases for all blue-collar and white-collar employees in the region.
Skilled trades employees at 10 worksites in North Dakota and Montana will receive the wage increases under OPM’s latest action. This includes Minot Air Force Base; the Agricultural Research Service in Mandan, N.D.; Army Corps of Engineers facilities in Riverdale and Williston, N.D.; National Guard bureaus in Minot and Bismarck, N.D.; Bureau of Reclamation facilities in Billings, Mont., and Coleharbor, N.D.; National Park Service sites in Medora and Coleharbor, N.D.; and the Fish and Wildlife Service in Kenmare, N.D.