May 11, 2007
Jason Fornicola
(202) 639-6448

AFGE Customs and Border Protection Council 117 Negotiates Foreign Language Pay for CBP Officers

WASHINGTON-The American Federation of Government Employees' (AFGE) Customs and Border Protection Council 117 reached a significant agreement with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Office of Field Operations to grant CBP Officers foreign language pay under the Agency’s Foreign Language Awards Program (FLAP). The Council fought very hard to secure an award program which bests compensates CBP Officers who use their foreign language skills day-in and day-out while on the job.

The new policy affords CBP Officers the opportunity to earn up to 5 percent of their base pay in awards money. CBP agreed to pay for the officers’ exam one time per year and will also pay for two additional exams per year for languages of special interest.

The scores correlate to a percentage of base pay for a maximum award of 5 percent of one’s base pay. Once an officer accumulates 5 percent of his/her salary through testing, there is no need to re-test in order to receive the monetary award. Officers can test for more than one language and combine percentage points in order to achieve the maximum 5 percent benefit. In order to start the process, officers must notify their supervisor in writing.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of these negotiations,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “CBP officers deserve compensation for their high skill level in the area of foreign languages, and this agreement is only going to help strengthen the security of America’s borders.”

CBP Officers are encouraged to request to test, writing, as soon as possible. The written request form is available at AFGE’s website,

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